Estonian marathon runner faces 4-year doping ban ({{commentsTotal}})

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has charged Estonian marathon runner Ilja Nikolajev for doping based on his biological passport - a first such accusation based on a biological passport in Estonia.

The IAAF began an investigation based on a blood profile built on seven tests between April 16 to November 28 in 2013. The association said there is a 99.9 percent chance Nikolajev's blood profile is abnormal, and there is a very high chance illegal doping or banned methods are the cause, not the athlete's physiological abnormalities.

The association is seeking a four-year ban, from April 16, 2013, but the final decision will be made by Estonian anti-doping authorities. Nikolajev, 33, will not be allowed to compete until a ruling has been made.

On October 27, 2013, during the period of the alleged doping, Nikolajev ran a marathon in 2:17.31, the third best ever result for an Estonian in the 42-kilometer marathon. Nikolajev has denied the charge.

An athlete biological passport stores an individual athlete's doping test results. Doping violations can be detected by noting variances from an athlete’s established levels outside permissible limits, rather than testing for and identifying illegal substances.

Editor: J.M. Laats

Opinion digest: Our plans do not have to bend to distorted Russophobia

In a recent opinion piece in Postimees, small business-owner and Reform Party member Vootele Päi responded to criticism sparked by Prime Minister Jüri Ratas' plans to attend a commemorative concert-service at the Estonian church in Saint Petersburg next month.

Kallas, Kasemets, Maasikas: EU is strong, no upside to losing the euro

Speaking on Vikerraadio's "Reporteritund" ahead of the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, Siim Kallas, Keit Kasemets and Matti Maasikas agreed that despite its prblems, the EU remained strong as a union.