Tokyo Olympics: Athletes that complete doping bans by next year can participate in 2021 games

Athletes that are wrapping up the final year of their doping bans are getting a dose of good news: they will be eligible to compete in the 2020 Olympics that were rescheduled for July of 2021. While it’s great for athletes serving suspensions, not all athletes believe that the doping bans should expire in time for the Olympics to begin on July 23, 2021. After all, the suspended athletes were giving punishments with the intention that they will not be able to compete in the Olympics.

“It doesn’t seem like a fair punishment,” Irish race walker Brendan Boyce told The Associated Press. “They haven’t really missed the events they were supposed to miss.”

One athlete that will have their ban lifted is Turkish runner Gamze Bulut. Bulut won a silver medal in the 1,500 meters at the 2012 Olympics, but was stripped of that medal after there were issues in her biological passport, which monitors an athlete’s blood. She was hit with a four-year doping ban that got underway in 2016, but is set to expire on May 29.

Bulut will have a year to attempt to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.

“I’m trying my best to (attend) the Olympics,” Bulut told the AP. “I hope I can join.”

The Athletics Integrity Unit believes that around 40 track and field athletes will now be eligible to compete in the Olympics as a result of the 2020 Olympics being pushed to 2021. 

Boyce has already qualified for the 2020 Olympics, but feels for athletes that may lose their spots to athletes that are wrapping up their doping bans.

“I wouldn’t be too happy now if I lost an Olympic spot because of an anomaly like what’s going on at the minute,” Boyce added.

In addition to Bulut, Irish boxer Michael O’Reilly and Polish weightlifter Tomasz Zielinski are among a group of athletes will be ending their doping bans in time to compete.

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