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banner Wednesday, 8 August, 2001, 14:35 GMT 15:35 UK
New questions over Yegorova
Olga Yegorova
Yegorova is at the centre of a storm in Edmonton
By BBC Sport Online's Tom Fordyce in Edmonton

Controversial Russian 5000m runner Olga Yegorova could yet face expulsion from the World Championships after another doping test showed irregularities.

Yegorova tested positive for banned performance-enhancing hormone EPO at the Golden League meeting in Paris last month and was initially banned by athletics' governing body, the IAAF.

But she was reinstated on Saturday on a technicality when it was revealed that French doping authorities had failed to carry out a blood test to back up the results of her urine sample, as IAAF regulations state.

She was tested again in Edmonton - and IAAF vice-president Arne Ljungqvist has revealed that she was one of 11 athletes whose blood tests revealed red blood cell counts outside normal parameters.

It would have been irresponsible not to send a sample at all
  Arne Ljungqvist

Further tests are being carried out on the athletes' urine samples to determine if these readings are the result of the use of banned substances.

"You can get these abnormal concentrations for other reasons," said Ljungqvist.

"These are borderline values with Yegorova. It's not necessarily a reason for going ahead, but we must make sure because of the tests in Paris."

The samples have been sent to Lausanne and a result is expected before the first heats of the 5000m on Thursday.

Newly-crowned 1500m champion Gabriela Szabo, who had previously threatened to boycott the 5000m if Yegorova were allowed to compete, said on Wednesday that she would now definitely be running.

Of all the athletes tested at the championships so far, only Yegorova was specifically targeted by the authorities.

Arne Ljungqvist
Ljungqvist says there are doubts about Yegorova's samples
"Yegorova is obvious," said Ljungqvist. "It would have been irresponsible not to send a sample at all."

Because EPO only remains in the bloodstream for three to four days, a negative test result would not necessarily mean that an athlete has not used it in the past.

But it does mean that any advantage would have worn off - when the red blood cell count returns to normal, the benefits are no longer there.

EPO works by increasing the number of oxygen-rich red blood cells in the body.

This allows more oxygen to be carried to the athlete's muscles, boosting their strength and endurance.

Yegorova, 29, has enjoyed a spectacular season in 2001 after struggling in previous years.

Shine taken off championships

Two years ago she finished 72 seconds behind Szabo at the World Championships in Seville, and finished well out of the medals at the Sydney Olympics.

This year she beat Szabo at a number of Grand Prix meets.

Doping issues are threatening to overwhelm the championships in Edmonton.

On Tuesday, Canadian sprinter Venolyn Clarke was revealed to have tested positive for the banned steroid Stanozolol.

And the Brazilian Athletics Federation announced that they had withdrawn 800m runner Fabiane dos Santos after she tested positive for testosterone.

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