Sotherton anger at doping cheat

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The Independent Online

Kelly Sotherton reacted with dismay today at reports that Lyudmila Blonska, silver medalist here in the heptathlon, is facing a life ban after testing positive for an anabolic steroid.

The Ukrainian has already served a two-year doping ban and Sotherton, who would move up from fifth to fourth in the heptathlon if the International Olympic Committee confirms the result tomorrow, has been highly critical of her presence at the Olympics.

"I'm totally not surprised by the news," Sotherton said yesterday. "I've been saying all along that she got caught doping when she was scoring 6300 points, how can she not be doping and scoring 6800? I have not seen any of her results since early June and then she comes out here and is producing good performances, which was suspicious. If the B sample comes back positive then that's a life ban, which will bring an end to the saga - hopefully she will be finished.

"The thing I hope for is that the Russian and American who will be upgraded get their medals in a proper official presentation, otherwise they have lost that moment forever. I'm happy I've moved up one place, but I'm still disappointed with my performance."

While Tatyana Chernova, who finished one place above Sotherton, and Hyleas Fountain, the current bronze medallist, await confirmation, there may be speculation about Blonska losing the silver medal she won at last year's World Championships in Osaka - in which case the beneficiary would be Sotherton.

Denise Lewis, heptathlon champion at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, commented : "I'm all for giving people one more chance but it's obvious that if you're going to cheat you probably will always be a cheat, and I'm glad she'll be gone from the sport for good.

"It leaves a bitter taste in my mouth considering the girls give everything in the heptathlon.

"She shouldn't have been taking part in the heptathlon and good riddance.

"She won silver in Osaka last year, so hopefully her name will be got out of the (record) books."