Russian world relay champ gets 9-month doping ban

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian athlete Kseniya Ryzhova, a world and European champion in the 4x400 relay, received a nine-month ban for doping on Friday.

Ryzhova tested positive for banned stimulant trimetazidine at the world indoor championships in Sopot, Poland, in March. The substance was prohibited in January.

In announcing the nine-month suspension, the Russian federation cited an IAAF rule allowing punishments lower than the standard two-year ban when athletes demonstrate they did not intend to enhance their performance by doping.

Ryzhova was part of Russian relay teams that won 4x400 European indoor gold in 2011 and world championship gold in Moscow last year.

Her ban runs from April 1 to Dec. 31. She would be eligible to compete at the 2015 world championships in Beijing.

Ryzhova was the fourth-fastest female 400-meter runner in the world last year, posting a time of 49.80 seconds at a meeting in Russia. Her 51.03 in Moscow in February is the fourth-fastest indoor 400 this year.

At the world indoor championships in Sopot, where she tested positive, Ryzhova finished outside the medals in both the 400 and the 4xand 4x400 relay.