World Steeplechase Champ Detained in Doping Probe

Madrid, Dec 10 (DPA) Steeplechase world champion Marta Dominguez has been arrested along with two coaches and doctor Eufemiano Fuentes in the latest Spanish police investigation into doping in sport, local news reports said.

The El Pais daily said on its website Thursday that the Central Operation Unit (UCO) of the Guardia Civil raided the homes of athletes, coaches and doctors earlier in the day in several cities such as Madrid and Las Palmas.

Citing sources close to the investigation, the report said the raids were based on an order by a Madrid court and that police and Spanish anti-doping authorities are co-operating in the probe named "Operacion Galgo" (Operation Greyhound).

Police officials have so far not confirmed the probe which is the third against doping in the country - with Fuentes already at the centre of Operation Puerto in 2006.

El Pais and state radio RNE said Dominguez was detained along with her coach Cesar Perez, coach Manuel Pascua Piqueras and Fuentes. El Pais said that Dominguez' manager Jose Alonso Valero was arrested as well.

Dominguez, 35, won the 3,000 metres steeplechase world title 2009 in Berlin and is a European 5,000m champion from 2002 and 2006. She will miss the 2011 season as she is pregnant, but reportedly plans to return in 2012 for the London Olympics.

Other reports mentioned a cyclist, Luis Leon Sanchez, being investigated as well. Sanchez came 11th at the 2010 Tour de France, has two stage wins from earlier years at the event and is the reigning Spanish time trial champion.

The latest investigation is the third of this kind directed against doping in Spain.

Last year, 20 km race walker Francisco Fernandez, a 2006 European champion and 2004 Olympic silver medallist, was banned over last year's Operation Grial.

In 2006, Fuentes was at the centre of the biggest probe so far, Operation Puerto which targeted cyclists, team officials and doctors over blood doping. Famous riders such as former Tour champ Jan Ullrich were sacked by their teams, while Alejandro Valverde and Ivan Basso served competition bans.

Fuentes was detained but not sanctioned because Spain didn't have anti-doping laws at the time.


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