Lynsey Sharp may receive gold after Yelena Arzhakova drugs ban

Lynsey Sharp and Yelena Arzhakova

European 800m silver medallist Lynsey Sharp could be upgraded to gold after Russian champion Yelena Arzhakova received a two-year doping ban.

The Briton ran a personal best in Helsinki in June but finished 2.01 seconds behind winner Arzhakova.

Sharp, 22, said on Twitter: "Just woken up to the news I will be upgraded to European champion from last year as a result of Arzhakova's ban.

"It makes me sick that I was denied the opportunity to do a lap of honour."

The 23-year-old Arshakova has 45 days to appeal against her ban.

Of Sharp's possible gold, Nigel Holl, chief executive of scottishathletics, said: "We are delighted she will now be recognised as a European champion.

"It is another boost for Lynsey's career and a reward for last summer when she won the UK Champs, did so well a few days later in Finland and represented Team GB and NI at the London 2012 Olympics."

Arshakova was banned following an "abnormal haemoglobin profile in her biological passport". Should the Russian fail with her appeal or decide against challenging her suspension, scottishathletics could host a proper medal ceremony for Sharp, possibly at their annual awards dinner in the autumn.

"You always feel more than a little sorry for athletes in these circumstances, because the very nature of testing afterwards and retrospective bans means they are denied that wonderful and deserved moment of glory standing on top of the podium," said Holl.

"We would love to be involved in any formal presentation to Lynsey of a gold medal by European Athletics and make that as grand and as fitting an occasion as possible."

Yelena Arzhakova leads the field
Sharp came from the back of the field to finish second behind Arzhakova

Despite her performance in Helsinki, Sharp had been a controversial pick for Team GB for London 2012.

She was chosen ahead of Jemma Simpson, Marilyn Okoro, Emma Jackson and Jenny Meadows despite failing to record the Olympic qualifying time.

She reached the semi-finals but fell short of qualifying for a final in which Arzhakova finished sixth. The gold medal was won by Russia's Mariya Savinova.

Sharp, who is training in the United States, was informed of Arshakova's ban in a telephone call from mum Carol.

"She just broke down in floods of tears," said her mother. "It is nice, yes, but there is a bit of anger there at missing out on a place on top of the podium to someone who has now failed drug tests.

"It might be the only chance she ever has to top a podium at a major international event like the European Championships.

"It may not - we don't know that yet - but you do feel bitter that you have been robbed of that moment.

"One good thing is there is no European Championship this year, so at least she is the champion now until they are held again in 2014. That's a bit of a consolation."

The Russian athletics federation (VFLA) has also handed a 10-year suspension to Olympic discus silver medallist Darya Pishchalnikova after she failed a drugs test for the second time.

A sample taken from the 27-year-old in May was re-tested and proved positive for the anabolic steroid oxandrolone, the VFLA said on its website.

The VFLA annulled all of Pishchalnikova's results from 20 May 2012, meaning she is set to lose her London Olympic medal.

She had already served a doping ban from July 2008 to April 2011.

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