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Banned Turkish distance runners to lose Olympic medals

FILE PHOTO: Turkey's Gamze Bulut celebrates after her second place finish in her women's 1500m semi-final during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium August 8, 2012. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
FILE PHOTO: Turkey's Gamze Bulut celebrates after her second place finish in her women's 1500m semi-final during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium August 8, 2012. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

LONDON (Reuters) - Turkish female distance runners Elvan Abeylegesse and Gamze Bulut are set to be stripped of silver medals from the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games after being handed bans for doping on Wednesday.

The sanctions will also mean the reallocation of medals awarded a decade ago at the 2007 Osaka athletics world championships.

Both women appeared on Wednesday on the IAAF's latest list of doping violations and sanctions.

Ethiopian-born Abeylegesse was disqualified of her results from Aug. 26, 2007 to Aug. 25, 2009 after a re-test of a 2007 sample showed positive for the banned steroid stanozolol.

That means she will lose the 5,000 and 10,000 silver medals from the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 10,000 metres silver from the 2007 world championships.

Britain's Jo Pavey will now get the 2007 bronze medal and Kara Goucher of the United States will be upgraded to silver.

"I am thrilled with the news but it is kind of bittersweet," Pavey told the BBC of what will be her first world medal.

"I had a few years in the prime of my career where I kept just missing out on medals and I almost had to go back to the drawing board and think how I could find that extra.

"Now I look back and I think about the other medals I might have had and actually I was doing a lot of things right but with the cheats out there it does make it so much more difficult and so frustrating," she said.

Bulut, a 1,500 metres silver medallist at London 2012, was handed a four-year ban for a violation of the athletes' biological passport rules.

That race has been described by some as the 'dirtiest race in history' with six of the top nine, including the gold and silver medallists, handed bans before or since.

Bahrain's Ethiopian-born Maryam Yusuf Jamal, third originally, now stands to inherit the gold.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis)

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