Phil Taylor

Phil Taylor is a Weekend Herald and New Zealand Herald senior staff writer.

Athletics: Hunter-Galvan won't run for London Olympics

Liza Hunter-Galvan of New Zealand at the Beijing Olympics. Photo / Getty Images
Liza Hunter-Galvan of New Zealand at the Beijing Olympics. Photo / Getty Images

Double Olympian Liza Hunter-Galvan won't try to qualify for the London Olympics despite an international court ruling clearing the way for those who have served doping bans.

"I'm not sure if I have good or bad feelings about the ruling, because I don't care any more," the marathon runner said from her home in Texas.

The 42-year-old won the Christchurch Marathon in June after a two-year ban for taking the blood-booster erythropoietin (EPO) in 2009 but suspects she would not be welcome if she did qualify.

"In a nutshell how do you chase a spot that isn't there?" Hunter-Galvan said. "Whether the ban was lifted or not I realise that the biggest hurdle I face is not my age, desire, commitment, injuries, qualifying standard, financial burden, or [the] poor choice I made. Rather it lies in being accepted.

"I have no interest in going through another legal battle, they take a toll on your soul," the runner said, a reference to the Beijing Olympics where she placed 35th after appealing her earlier non-selection to the Sports Tribunal.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport last month overturned an International Olympic Committee rule that excluded athletes banned for more than six months for doping from the following Olympics. The legal challenge was made by American LaShawn Merritt who will be able to defend his Olympic 400m title.

Hunter-Galvan won the Christchurch race in 2h 45m 31s. Her career best of 2h 29m 37s set in 2008 is three minutes faster than the qualifying standard for the London Olympics.

Kim Smith qualified for the Olympics when finishing fifth in the New York Marathon last week.

Hunter-Galvan is the only New Zealander to have tested positive to EPO. Commonwealth Games track cyclist Adam Stewart was banned in September last year for importing EPO and chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). His ban does not expire until after the London Olympics.

EPO is abused in sport to stimulate red-blood-cell production which boosts the amount of oxygen delivered to the muscles.

hCG can be used to kick-start natural testosterone production after a period taking synthetic steroids.

- NZ Herald

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