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Disgraced Russian marathon runner cleared to race after doping ban cut for giving new evidence

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MONTREAL — Disgraced three-time Chicago Marathon winner Liliya Shobukhova can race again after her doping ban was cut for giving evidence to help other investigations.

The World Anti-Doping Agency said Monday that Shobukhova's confidential "substantial assistance" earned the Russian runner a seven-month cut in an existing ban of three years, two months. The reduced sanction expired Sunday.

"The information and documentation provided by Ms. Shobukhova has been of substantial value in uncovering and investigating anti-doping rule violations committed by other individuals, including athlete support personnel," WADA said in a statement.

WADA and athletics' governing body, the IAAF, said they could not give details of her evidence.

Last December, German broadcaster ARD alleged Shobukhova paid Russian officials 450,000 euros ($520,000) who threatened her with a doping ban before the 2012 London Olympics.

The program alleged that when Shobukhova was initially banned for two years in 2014, her husband received a 300,000 euro ($345,000) refund payment linked to Russian athletics federation president Valentin Balakhnichev. Then treasurer at the IAAF, he stepped down within days of the program airing.

PHOTO: International Association of Athletics Federations outgoing president Lamine Diack, left, speaks next to newly elected president Sebastian Coe during a press briefing at the IAAF Congress at the National Convention Center in Beijing, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
International Association of Athletics Federations outgoing president Lamine Diack, left, speaks next to newly elected president Sebastian Coe during a press briefing at the IAAF Congress at the National Convention Center in Beijing, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

WADA later created a commission to investigate alleged systematic doping in Russian athletics and other sports implicated in ARD's report.

The IAAF also asked its ethics committee to investigate the Russian case which has implicated the son of its outgoing president Lamine Diack.

Shobukhova was stripped of her 2009-2011 wins in Chicago and her 2010 London Marathon victory when the Russian federation initially banned her for two years for blood doping and she was ordered her to forfeit her prize money.

The IAAF appealed for a four-year ban from the Court of Arbitration for Sport. A settlement was reached in June for Shobukhova to serve a three-year, two-month ban through March 2016.

WADA was part of that agreement though said Monday it had been approached by the runner in May "with a view to providing substantial assistance" which can lead to reduced sanctions.

"Ms. Shobukhova has formally committed to cooperate with WADA in the investigation and, ultimately, the adjudication of cases resulting from the information she has provided," the agency said.

"Concerning the ongoing work of the Independent Commission, which is investigating serious doping allegations that aired on German television in December 2014 and August 2015, WADA will make no further comment at this time," the statement added.

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