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Team GB runner Lynsey Sharp: Drugs are a huge problem in athletics


Scottish runner Lynsey Sharp believes doping in athletics is a “huge problem” and plenty of athletes are cheating without being caught.

The 22-year-old will be awarded a retrospective European Championship gold medal after it was confirmed that Russian champion Yelena Arzhakova had been banned for two years for a doping offence.

Sharp finished behind Arzhakova in the 800 metres in Helsinki in June last year, but the Russian athletics federation (VFLA) confirmed the middle distance runner had shown "abnormal haemoglobin profile in her biological passport" and stripped her of her title.

The Scot thinks drugs cheating in athletics is a major issue.

"If you spoke to any athlete, they would say there's a lot of people who get away with it and probably don't get caught," Sharp told BBC Scotland.

"It's a huge problem.

"There's a lot of people being caught, but it's nothing compared to the amount of people getting away with it."

Sharp, who ran a personal best in Helsinki in June but finished more than two seconds behind Arzhakova, has mixed feelings after being told yesterday she will now receive a gold medal for the race.

She said: "I'm trying to see the positives, but at the same time you're thinking 'what's the point?' if this if this sort of thing happens?

"It's so disappointing that it's still an issue in the sport. The 800m in particular is pretty bad for it, it's depressing.

"This is someone I've competed against for the last two years. I've felt like I've got to know her and we would acknowledge each other and smile and say hi. It's disappointing, but at the same time I'm happy she's been caught.

"I killed myself that day - it was my fourth race in a week and I gave it my all in the last 100 metres.

"I literally feel I gave the most that day in that field, so it's nice to eventually be rewarded with a gold medal."