Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Lithuania bans marathon champ Balciunaite

European women's marathon champion Zivile Balciunaite was Tuesday hit with a two-year competition ban after being found guilty of doping, Lithuania's athletics federation said.
"The verdict has been issued. Zivile Balciunaite is guilty," the federation's secretary general Nijole Medvedeva told AFP, confirming the two-year penalty.
Lithuanian Balciunaite was provisionally suspended by her home federation in October after a urine sample -- taken after her European title win in Barcelona in July -- revealed abnormal levels in the ratio between the male sex hormone testosterone and epitestosterone.
Both testosterone and epitestosterone occur naturally in women but an increased level of testosterone can indicate it has been administered artificially.
Balciunate, now 32, flatly denied the doping allegations and claimed the results could be explained by Duphaston, a drug prescribed by her gynaecologist.