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Drug Abuse Three Russian Olympic gold medallists banned for doping offences

Sergei Kirdyapkin will still be eligible to defend his Olympic 50 kilometre walk title despite being banned for doping offences.

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Teigning 50 kilometre walk champion Sergei Kirdyapkin is one of three Russian Olympic gold medallists who were on Tuesday suspended for doping violations.

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) have announced bans for five athletes following analysis of their biological passports, which revealed abnormalities in their blood values.

Bans of three years and two months were handed to Kirdyapkin, Olga Kaniskina - a now retired gold medallist at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 and silver medallist at London 2012 in the 20km walk - and 2011 world 50km champion Sergei Bakulin.

The cases of Kirdyapkin and Kaniskina have been backdated to October 2012, while Bakulin's sanction runs from December 2012.

Kirdyapkin will therefore be able to defend his title at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Valery Borchin, winner of an Olympic gold medal in the 20km walk in 2008, has been suspended for eight years for a second offence, and Vladimir Kanaykin has received a life ban for a repeat offence.

No Olympic medals have been affected by the sanctions, however, five World Championship gold medals and a silver medal from 2009 and 2011 events could now be re-awarded.

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