Russia suspends four athletes for anti-doping violations


Former European 800-metre silver medallist Irina Maracheva is one of four Russian athletes banned by the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) for violating anti-doping rules.

Maracheva finished third in the 2012 European Championships in Helsinki but was promoted to the silver medal after Yelena Arzhakova was stripped of the title after failing a drugs test.

Now the 31-year-old has fallen foul of a similar charge as the ROC increases its anti-doping checks following a ban of their own by the IAAF, with Maracheva banned for two years.

Anna Lukyanova is also handed a two-year suspension, while Elena Nikulina and Maria Nikolayeva will be ineligible to compete for four years.

Russian athletes were suspended by the IAAF in December following allegations of doping and corruption.