London Marathon bans Liliya Shobukhova for life

Liliya Shobukhova wins the 2010 Virgin London Marathon. Photo: Getty Images

UPDATE - former banned athlete Liliya Shobukhova has been ordered to repay £377,361 plus costs to London Marathon organisers by the British High Court.

However, the claim may take some time as the decision will need to be enforced in Russia before London Marathon see any of the cash. 


Drug cheat Liliya Shobukhova is free to compete again after her suspension was cut short as a reward for co-operating with World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) investigations.

But London Marathon chiefs vowed to maintain their zero tolerance policy on drug cheats and have said Shobukhova is still banned from taking part in the London Marathon or any of the five other marathons that make up the World Marathon Majors. 

The second fastest woman in the world behind Paula Radcliffe, Shobukhova won the 2010 London Marathon and the Chicago marathon three times in a row, but was stripped of all her results from October 2009 and banned from competing for two years following abnormalities in her biological passport.

Her original two-year ban from the Russian federation was increased to three years and two months by the International Association of Athletics Federations, the athletics world governing body, following a ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. But in May last year Shobukhova approached WADA offering to give information on other athletes and her ban was shortened by seven months.

A WADA statement said: ‘Ms Shobukhova accepted from the outset that she had committed an anti-doping rule violation. The information and documentation she provided has been of substantial value in uncovering and investigating anti-doping rule violations committed by other individuals, including athlete support personnel.’  

In a statement issued on Monday the London Marathon insisted: ‘Our zero tolerance policy is unaltered. We believe there should be no place in our sport for people who have cheated, no matter how much assistance they give after they have been caught.’

Shobukhova’s reprieve also won’t stop the London Marathon from continuing with legal action to recover prize money.

Nick Bitel, Chief Executive of the London Marathon, said: ‘The London Marathon has already announced that it will commence legal proceedings against athletes who have failed tests if they do not repay money that they have received from the event and has already taken steps to do so in the case of Shobukhova.

'We are determined to make marathon running a safe haven from doping. This means that cheats should not be permitted to keep their ill-gotten gains under any circumstances.'