Three-time Chicago Marathon champion Lilya Shobukhova has been banned for two years for blood doping and faces demands to repay millions of dollars in winnings.
The Russian athletics federation said Tuesday it banned Shobukhova until next January for abnormal biological passport values and stripped her results from Oct. 9, 2009. Shobukhova won three times in Chicago and once in London in that time, also collecting $1 million in prize money as a two-time leader of the World Marathon Majors rankings.
"Any athlete found guilty of a doping offense will be required to repay any prize or appearance money earned at WMM events including WMM series prize money," the race organizers' group said in a statement.
The 36-year-old Shobukhova's time of 2 hours, 18 minutes, 20 seconds in Chicago in 2011 made her the second-fastest women's marathon runner behind record holder Paula Radcliffe of Britain.
"Lilya Shobukhova finally exposed as a drug cheat," Radcliffe wrote on her Twitter account. "Action needs to be taken to show cheating not acceptable. Monies won should be returned and rightful winners recognized."
Shobukhova won three straight in Chicago from 2009 and placed fourth the following year. In London, she was third in 2009, won in 2010 and was second the next year.
Those results lifted her to first place in the major marathons series to get the 2009-10 and 2011-12 season titles.
"WMM will continue to hold a stern line and supports all measures to ensure the integrity of the athletes competing in their races," general counsel Nick Bitel said in a statement. "Cheats need to understand that they are not welcome in our sport and that they will be caught."
Shobukhova enjoyed some success as a distance runner on the track until switching to marathons after the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
In her profile page on the IAAF website, Shobukhova is quoted saying she split with her long-time coach around that time.
Her husband, Igor Shobukhov, took over as coach despite being "the most inexperienced — he had never before coached professional athletes," the profile states.
Shobukhova can appeal the sanction.
Copyright AP - Associated Press