Canadian elite women react to Peruvian cheater competing months after failed test

Three Canadian elite runners react to Peruvian marathoner Gladys Tejeda being back in action after just six-month ban that spanned the winter months.

Gladys Tejeda Doping
Gladys Tejeda at the Pan Am Games in Toronto. Photo: Chris Lepik.

The Peruvian woman who was stripped of her marathon gold medal at the Pan Am Games was back in action on Saturday just six months after testing positive for a banned substance.

Gladys Tejeda competed at the IAAF world half-marathon championships, a biennial event, in Cardiff, Wales on the weekend after Peru’s athletic association cleared her to compete. Rachel Hannah, the fourth place finisher at the time of the marathon in July at the Pan Am Games was later upgraded to bronze following Tejeda’s failed drug test.

Social media users were quick to question how and why she was competing again so soon after failing a drug test. In September, it was announced that she had tested positive for furosemide, a diuretic considered to be used a masking agent, which is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

She’s confirmed for the Olympics in Rio and has indicated a desire to win gold at the Summer Games, according to Peru This Week.

Hannah and Catherine Watkins competed against Tejeda at the July race while Canadian Lanni Marchant toed the line this past Saturday in Wales. All three question the length of her six-month ban after she had been originally suspended by the international governing body for athletes (IAAF).

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The official statement from the Peruvian Athletic Association can be found below.

The document, translated by Peru This Week, states that Tejeda’s ban ended up March 9, 2016. Further, the statement notes that “the IAAF has communicated that after ‘checking carefully the archives and the complete medical file and consultations from both our medical committee and WADA, the IAAF has decided not to appeal the decision’ of the National Commission of Justice of the FPA.”

COMUNICADO OFICIAL 001-2016 FPA / CASO GLADYS TEJEDA

Posted by Federacion Deportiva Peruana de Atletismo-Pagina Oficial on Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Here’s what three Canadians had to say regarding the matter beginning with Marchant, who finished 20th at the world half-marathon championships on Saturday leading Canada to a sixth-place team finish.

Lanni Marchant

“Yah, I was a bit floored when I realized it was the same athlete,” she said when asked about the Peruvian being at the start line at the world half-marathon championships. “Then came the disappointment, frustration and anger. How is a ‘ban’ fair when it is timed to perfectly coincide with a competitive season? Her type of ‘ban’ basically allows an athlete to continue to train and be ready to compete on the world stage as soon as it is lifted. It is unfair to those of us that are clean to have to line up against those that not only cheat, but have been caught and simply given a slap on the wrist.

It is obvious when we look at some of the major doping issues occurring in certain countries that leaving the determination of doping sanctions up to National Sport Organizations (NSOs) does not guarantee an athlete will be adequately sanctioned for his/her doping infractions.”

Rachel Hannah

“I think the short penalty of six months for a positive drug test does send mixed messages to the athletics world on how serious or not it is to take performance-enhancing substances. With only a six month penalty that covered most of the winter season anyways, that scenario could be strategically timed by an athlete who wished to manipulate the system. I’m thankful for Canada’s serious stance on clean sport as I know it is the right thing.”

Catherine Watkins

Read the full story on Tejeda and how she was able to compete at the world championships just months after testing positive for a banned substance.