ISTANBUL: Turkey’s Olympic president has reiterated its fight against doping after the resignation of the head of the country’s athletics federation in the wake of a stream of suspensions.
Ugur Erdener, a leading figure in Istanbul’s bid to win host rights to the 2020 Olympic Games, hinted that there was more bad news ahead.
The doping issue has been an image issue for both Istanbul and bid rivals Madrid in their rivalry with Tokyo for the IOC’s favour in September.
Mehmet Terzi, who has led the Turkish Athletics Federation since 2004, had said: “I thought it would be right that I step down. Unfortunately, it is a fact that so many anti-doping crimes were committed outside my and technical staff’s control.”
High-profile inquiries were launched earlier this year over dope test failures by Olympic 1500m champion Asli Cakir Alptekin and European 100m hurdles champion Nevin Yanit.
Then, in June, eight more Turkish athletes, including 2004 Olympic hammer silver medalist Esref Apak, were caught while dozens reportedly failed targeted tests before the Mediterranean Games in Mersin, Turkey.
Earlier this week the IAAF imposed two-year bans on nine Turkish athletes, including two teenagers, who tested positive for anabolic steroids. Six of those cases involved field athletes testing positive for stanozolol at Turkey’s national university championships held in May.
Lamine Diack, the president of the IAAF, has suggested that Turkey needed to “clean up its act” if Istanbul were to maintain hope in the Olympic bid race.
Erdener, who is not only president of Turkey’s national Olympic committee but an IOC member, insisted: “Turkey is working aggressively and successfully to ensure that doping is eradicated completely from Turkish sport.
“There may be more positive tests to come, but it is a price we must pay to see clean young Turkish athletes winning medals on the international stage.
“I will ensure that the new leadership of the Turkish Athletics Federation abides by the rigorous standards set out in Turkey’s comprehensive anti-doping legislation, other national laws and international anti-doping practices.”