Not so much turkeys voting for Christmas as Christmas come early for Turkey. Asli Cakir Alptekin, who has served a two-year ban for doping offences, won her country's first athletic gold last night in a frantic finish to the 1500m and was followed across the line by her fellow countrywoman Gamze Bulut. It was also Turkey's first ever 1-2 and at a stroke it doubled their medal tally at London 2012.
It proved another disappointing evening on the track for Britain with Lisa Dobriskey, who had come into the race with realistic hopes of claiming a medal but finished 10th. Afterwards Dobriskey said she does not believe she is "competing on a level playing field".
The women's hammer was also won last night by a former doper, Russia's Tatyana Lysenko, who missed the 2008 Games while serving a two-year ban.
In a slow 1500m, Dobriskey first became boxed in towards the back of the field and then as the bell signalled a general acceleration and jostling to break free she was behind the American Morgan Uceny who was sent tumbling to the track for the second major championship in succession.
By then the front runners were away and the gap was too great for Dobriskey. The first four were covered by 0.67sec but Cakir Alptekin had enough to carry her home ahead of Bulut, aged only 20, and Bahrain's Maryam Yusuf Jamal. The winning time of 4min 10.23sec was 20 seconds outside the world record. Britain's Laura Weightman came last of the 11 finishers.
It marked further frustration in what has been a stop start career for Dobriskey. Nor will she be best pleased by Cakir Alptekin's victory. In the past, the 28-year-old has voiced her frustration at the presence of former dopers returning to competition and did so again last night. The British Olympic Association's life ban on all Britons who have tested positive from competing in the Games may have gone, but its sentiments retain strong support among team members.
"I'll probably get into trouble for saying this but I don't believe I'm competing on a level playing field," she said.
Two years ago Dobriskey finished fourth in the European championships behind the French silver medallist Hind Dehiba, who served a two-year drug ban.
Cakir Alptekin ran the 3000m steeplechase in Beijing four years ago and failed to progress from the heats. By last year's world championships in Daegu she had dropped down to the 1500m but failed to qualify for the final. This year has been different though. She finished third in the world indoors in Istanbul and then at the Diamond League meeting she ran 3min 56.62 sec, a personal best that only Abebe Aregawi, the Swedish-based Ethiopian, in last night's field had bettered. Then on the eve of the Games, Cakir Alptekin won the European championships – Bulut taking silver in what turned out to be a dress rehearsal for London. Last night Cakir Alptekin's dramatic rise to prominence at this distance was completed when she hit the front with 250m remaining and never looked back.
Britain's Steve Lewis finished fifth in a pole vault competition won by Renaud Lavillenie of France, who broke the Olympic record. It was Lavillenie's first major outdoor title, which he won with a clearance of 5.97m.
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