Lynsey Sharp reveals fury at drugs cheat

Lynsey comes in second behind Russian Yelena Arzhakova, leaving her with a silver at the time. Picture: Getty Images
Lynsey comes in second behind Russian Yelena Arzhakova, leaving her with a silver at the time. Picture: Getty Images
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OLYMPIC star Lynsey Sharp wept during a dawn phone call from her mum who revealed she had been robbed of a European gold medal by a drugs cheat.

The 22-year-old track ­athlete – who is training in the USA – clinched silver in the women’s 800m in Helsinki last June and was stirred from her sleep by a 6am call to discover she was now a European champion.

Her rival, Russia’s Yelena Arzhakova, was stripped of her titles and banned after an “abnormal haemoglobin profile” was found on her biological passport by the Russian Athletics Federation this week.

The ban means Ms Sharp, who grew up in the Capital and is the daughter of former 
Scottish sprinter Cameron Sharp, gets 800m gold while her bronze in the 2011 European under-23s is upgraded to silver.

Speaking from her US training base, the newly-crowned European 800m winner said: “I always hoped I would not be affected directly by a drugs cheat, but for this to have ­happened at two championships with the same person is a double whammy.

“Helsinki would have been completely different if I had won there because I didn’t get to do a lap or honour or stand on top of the podium. Everyone wants to be champion and to hear the national anthem is a huge thing for me because I remember hearing the Russian national anthem playing and thinking ‘I hope one day I will be champion and I get to ­experience that’.”

She added: “When my mum called to tell me, at first I was confused because it was coming out eight or nine months after the championships finished, but then I started crying when she said: ‘You are European champion’ and I felt a million different emotions.”

Mum Carol said she wanted to tell Lynsey the news herself.

“Who knows, 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.”

She added: “One good thing is there is no European Championship this year so at least she is the champion now until 2014.” Officials at ScottishAthletics have now called for an official presentation to be organised, with their annual awards dinner in autumn a possibility.

Nigel Holl, chief executive of scottishathletics, said: “We’d love to be involved in any ­formal presentation to Lynsey of a gold medal.”