European Championships: Drug cheats spur on Dobriskey
Lisa Dobriskey is a middle distance runner for Great Britain. She won a silver medal in the 1500 m at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin.
European Athletics Championships 2010 Venue: Barcelona Dates: 27 July - 1 August Coverage: Watch live on BBC HD, BBC One, BBC Two and BBC Sport website (UK users only); Live coverage on BBC Radio 5 live; Full highlights on iPlayer and highlights of the biggest events on demand online (UK only)
By Tom Fordyce
BBC Sport in Barcelona
Britain's world 1500m silver medallist Lisa Dobriskey says her anger over the drug cheats in her event could inspire her to the European title.
The only European women to have run faster than Dobriskey this year, Russia's Anna Alminova and France's Hind Dehiba, have both just returned from doping bans.
Dobriskey told BBC Sport: "When Alminova beat me in Paris, she looked like she could run five seconds faster. It's crazy really.
"Initially you feel quite angry. But you have to try to take your emotions aside, channel that anger and make it work for you."
Alminova, who clocked the fastest time in the world for four years at that Diamond League meeting, only returned from a three-month ban for taking pseudoephedrine on 8 July.
Behiba was arrested in 2007 when vials of human growth hormone were found in her luggage at Charles de Gaulle airport, and was subsequently banned for two years after testing positive for banned blood-booster EPO.
Two other Russians, two-time world 1500m champion Tatyana Tomashova and former world indoor champion Yelena Soboleva, were given two-year doping bans before the last Olympics.
Dobriskey said: "I hate the fact that drugs play such a big role in sport. It's so damaging. But in some respects I now see it as a challenge - I feel I have an opportunity to show how good it's possible to be while clean.
"You can't think about who might be taking drugs - it would just beat you up. You just have to go out there on the day. And I believe the testers are getting better at catching the cheats - we saw that with how many missed out in 2008."
Dobriskey has battled a back injury all season and struggled at the GB trials. But she says she will go into Friday's semi-finals (2000 BST) in better shape than before the Worlds last summer.
"I ran 3.59.79secs in Paris which is only just shy of my personal best, which I ran after Berlin, and my times up to now have been better than what I was running in the build-up to the Worlds.
"The Trials were always going to be difficult because I was very underprepared, but in a way it made the other races feel much easier. It's just a case of holding things together now and making sure I don't blow up. It's quite a delicate balance now."
Dobriskey left trailing by Alminova in 1500m
Dobriskey is joined in the semi-finals by compatriots Hannah England and Steph Twell, and says that the performances of her team-mates have spurred her on to new heights.
"That's the exciting thing for us. The depth for the event is getting better all the time, and all three British girls are potential medallists. It's very positive for the sport, especially with 2012 on the horizon.
"If you're rivals with someone you have to respond to what each one does, and that helps drive us all forward. It raises the bar each time and makes it more and more challenging."
After a fourth place at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, Dobriskey was only a hundredth of a second away from gold at the Worlds last summer. Can she go one better in Barcelona?
"I never like to say those kind of things - you have to get through the rounds first to get a medal, but a medal must be my minimum aim. Every year is different, but I have to aim for a medal."
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