Sandris Linbergs, javelin world champion at Toruń, gets 4-year suspension for doping

Sandris Linbergs, second from right, stands 6-5 1/2, so his discus wingspan is impressive. Photo taken in 2017.

Last March, Latvian athletes won 11 gold medals at Toruń indoors worlds in Poland, including an M35 thrower (nearing 39) named Sandris Linbergs. In 2018, he was listed on the World Athletics (formerly IAAF) site as the 1040th best discus thrower in the world.

At Torun, however, he tested positive for “a prohibited substance, its metabolites or markers.” And this week World Masters Athletics announced he was given a four-year suspension through March 23, 2023.

“As the result of this suspension, there will be a reallocation of the results shot put M35 and the results and medal places in the subsequent javelin and discus M35,” WMA said. “Please note the relevant athletes will be contacted directly in due course.”

Sandris — who turns 40 in September 2020 — was sixth in the shot at 14.21 meters (46-7 1/2) but won gold in the javelin (yes, they hold it outdoors) at 62.43 (204-10) and silver in the discus at 46.77 (153-5). (Complete results are here.)

So here are the new world medalists in the javelin:

  • Gold LEWIN Dominik M35 Germany GER 55.53
  • Silver NOVAK Carsten M35 Germany GER 48.99
  • Bronze KINAL Grzegorz M35 Poland POL 46.40

And the discus:

  • Gold JACKOW Krzysztof M35 Poland POL 48.19
  • Silver BISCHLAGER Christoph M35 Germany GER 45.90
  • Bronze KOMINEK Andrzej M35 Poland POL 43.55

No Americans contested those throws in that age group.

The IAAF lists Sandris as having an all-time javelin PR of 71.56 (234-9). So he wasn’t world class.

I’m writing Latvian and WMA officials to learn more about his case and what they found in his system. I’m also contacting him via other channels.

Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, his discus form looks pretty good in this 2017 video, showing him using all of the ring.

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About the Author

Ken Stone
Ken has followed track as an athlete, writer and webmaster since the late 1960s, and saw most sessions of track and field at the 1984 Los Angeles and 1996 Atlanta Olympics. He also attended the 1988, 1992, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Trials. He worked for 10 newspapers and now reports for Times of San Diego. Write him at or Story tips always welcome!

4 Comments on "Sandris Linbergs, javelin world champion at Toruń, gets 4-year suspension for doping"

  1. Nasty. And unpleasant idea that some people far removed from world class (i.e. our level) take enhancing drugs.

  2. A masters athlete asked me to post the following on their behalf:

    “There are those who are naturally talented but in their quest for records, to win & make a name for themselves they choose to take steroids to reach that goal. What’s more shameful is for a female master athlete to take steroids. What’s even worse is anyone assisting that person to cheat. The steroids make obvious changes to her voice (deeper) and body (bigger muscles). These drugs can kill maybe not now but later causing heart attacks, kidney & liver problems. If you have children, you can be taking their mother away from them & a wife from her husband. If and when you are caught think of the embarrassment to you, your family, coworkers, supporters & friends. Ultimately they will see you as a fraud & cheater. How sad that will be. How can you have pride in your drug assisted accomplishments? There’s more pride & joy in your accomplishments knowing you worked hard and did it naturally. It’s truly shameful to be happening in Masters track and field. More needs to done to catch & get rid of these cheaters.”

    • Why on earth is it more shameful for a female athlete to take steroids?? Not good for anyone no matter what gender. I really think this poster needs to evaluate why they are shaming women more than men, sounds pretty weird to me. You can take a father away from their children and a husband away from a wife, and it’s just as tragic!

  3. Michael Walker | December 12, 2019 at 5:16 pm | Reply

    Anonymous makes a good point.

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