• Athletics

Turkey bans 31 athletes after drug raids

ESPN staff
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Olympic medalist Esref Apak is among the 31 athletes handed two-year doping bans © PA Photos
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The Turkish athletics federation has handed doping bans to 31 of the country's track and field athletes, including former Olympic medalist Esref Apak, after a string of raids during the Mediterranean Games.

The raids, ordered by the International Association of Athletics Federations, led to "dozens" of positive tests according to the Telegraph, one of the largest doping exposures within a single nation.

The names of the suspended athletes - all of whom were hit with two-year bans - were published on the federation's website this morning, just five days before the IAAF World Championships in Moscow. No details of the specific violations have been provided.

Investigations into alleged doping by Asli Cakir Alptekin, the reigning women's 1500m champion, and two other female team members at London 2012 continue.

At least three of the 31, including 2004 Olympic hammer silver-medalist Apak, represented Turkey in London.

The news will be another blow to Turkey's hopes of hosting the Olympics in Istanbul. IAAF president Lamine Diack had warned the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister, Ali Babacan, that the country's doping problem could harm its Olympic bid.

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