Anti-doping ‘Operation Galgo’ in Spain

The world 3000 metres champion and one of Spain’s most famous athletes, Marta Dominguez, was released on bail yesterday following a police operation against a doping network. ‘Operation Galgo’ carried out by the Spanish Civil Guard has led to five people being arrested including the athletic trainers César Pérez and Manuel Pascua Piqueras, as well as a doctor, Eufemiano Fuentes. It is expected that Dominguez will be called to appear in court in the next few days. The operation covered several provinces.

The Spanish Civil Guard decided to conditionally release Dominguez due to the fact that she is four months pregnant and because they do not believe that she will flee the country and despite the fact that they have a lot of evidence to show that she supplied banned substances to other athletes.

The main charges expected to be brought against Dominguez involve her acting as an intermediary between doctors and other athletes. During the operation carried out yesterday in which her house in Palencia was searched drugs and documentation related to the doping network were found.

Currently the police are holding thirteen people in relation to the investigation into the doping network although it is expected that more people will be released on bail today. Another fourteen people are expected to be called to appear before the Sports Board on suspicion of having taken banned substances.

Currently the investigation into doping in Spanish athletics is still open which is why the judge in charge of the case has declined to make the summary of the case public. The Anti doping laboratory in Madrid is assisting the authorities with its investigations.

The house of the doctor Eufemiano Fuentes was also searched yesterday. Fuentes was also implicated in the first police operation against doping in 2006 and is still awaiting trial for his involvement in a doping network involving Spanish cyclists which was dismantled during ‘Operation Puerto’ in 2006 before the current anti-doping laws came into effect.

The Spanish Ahtletics Federation (RFEA), whose Vice-President is Marta Domínguez has declined to comment over the case whilst the captain of the Spanish athletics team, Manuel Martínez, has asked for caution and respect for his colleague.

Gerardo García, the President of the Athletics Federation for Castilla y León has defended Dominguez’s right to be presumed innocent before being proven guilt and also asked for caution.