(photo credit: TIBOR JAGER)
Israeli sprinter Olga Lenskiy was suspended until the end of the year and had her 100-meter record rescinded by the Anti-Doping Committee of Israel on Thursday.
Lenskiy broke Esther Roth-Shachamarov’s 42-year-old record in April, clocking a time of 11.42 seconds at Hadar Yosef Stadium in Tel Aviv, improving the previous best by three hundredths of a second. Roth-Shachamarov set her record at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
However, the new record was cast in doubt three days later when the Israel Athletics Association announced that the 22-year-old Lenskiy failed to show up for a drugs test the morning after setting the new national best. Due to the relatively unimportant nature of the competition, there was no drugs testing team at Hadar Yosef. According to the Anti-Doping Committee, Lenskiy was requested to take a drugs test the morning after the event, but after initially agreeing to do so, she notified the testers that she will not be able to attend it as planned as she needs to fly to Ukraine to be beside her ailing grandmother.
Lenskiy only returned from Ukraine after more than three weeks, explaining that she was treated for a nervous breakdown and urinary infection in a hospital in Lviv .
However, the Anti-Doping Committee’s three-man disciplinary panel didn’t accept her explanations on Thursday and chose to suspend her until the end of 2014 and also disqualify her record result. The prosecution demanded to hand Lenskiy a two-year suspension, but she nevertheless plans to appeal Thursday’s ruling.
Lenskiy, who was visibly distraught after hearing of the decision, vehemently denies using banned substances. She said she was already on her way to take a test on the day of the race when she was notified that it was canceled. She added that she was forced to leave the country urgently after being notified later that evening that her grandmother was being admitted to hospital in critical condition.
“After I went online in Ukraine and read all the articles written about me I told my mother that I don’t want to live anymore and don’t want to return to Israel,” Lenskiy told the committee on Thursday. “I cried all night and felt like I was being made to look like a criminal. The following morning I didn’t feel well and was hospitalized. I was released from hospital on May 7 and returned almost immediately. I have never taken any banned substance before a competition.”