2008 Bjorklund Winner Accused

     New Zealand Olympian Liza Hunter-Galvan, the 2008 Garry Bjorklund Half-Marathon women’s champion, is facing accusations of failing a doping test. The 40-year-old mother of four told the Express-News of New Zealand that she didn’t deny that there was an upcoming hearing with a Sports Disputes Tribunal. Hunter-Galvan won the Bjorklund Half-Marathon title in 1:13:20 and that performance helped in being selected to run the marathon for New Zealand in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, although it took a hearing with New Zealand officials to get her named to the team. She finished 35th in the Summer Games.

 From the Sunday Star-Times of New Zealand

      San Antonio-based Olympic distance runner Liza Hunter-Galvan declined Sunday night to address reports in New Zealand that she may have failed a doping test.
     The Sunday Star-Times of New Zealand reported that Hunter-Galvan is facing a hearing in front of a Sports Disputes Tribunal and that she could be facing a ban.
     Contacted about the report Sunday night, Hunter-Galvan told the Express-News that she would call back, but she didn’t immediately return the call.
     Later, she did not respond to a message left on her cell phone.
     A spokesman for Athletics New Zealand, responding to an e-mail, declined comment.
     The story in the Star-Times said Hunter-Galvan did not deny that she was facing a hearing in relation to a failed doping test. The newspaper said the New Zealand athletics community has been “abuzz” over suggestions that an Olympian had “returned an adverse finding” in a drugs test.
     Several “senior athletics figures” told the newspaper that the athlete in question was Hunter-Galvan.
Hunter-Galvan ran in both the 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympics for her native New Zealand.
     Initially, New Zealand did not put her on the Olympic roster last year even after she had run a qualifying time. But after Hunter-Galvan appealed, she was allowed to run, and she finished 35th in Beijing. According to the Star-Times, the positive sample was not given at the Beijing Games.
     Hunter-Galvan was second at the inaugural San Antonio Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and Half-Marathon in November, running a personal record 2 hours, 29 minutes and 35 seconds.
     She ran 1:18:18 to win the Disney Princess Half Marathon on March 8 in Orlando, Fla. Hunter-Galvan, a mother of four, turned 40 last month.
     Hunter-Galvan turned down a selection to the 2009 World Championships in Berlin in August despite qualifying to run and earlier submitting nomination papers. Sources said that had nothing to do with her forthcoming hearing. It’s also thought she had been considering retiring anyway to concentrate on her family (she and her husband have four children, one who was severely injured in a car accident in 2007) and her job as a science teacher.

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