Marta Domínguez, former politician and former star of Spanish athletics, was punished for doping

– Martha? No, she hasn’t worked here for a long time. Exactly one year. But we don’t know what she does now.

At the Palencia Renfe station there are three women with the same haircut: medium length hair and intense blonde. The same one that characterized martha dominguezone of the most successful athletes in Spain in its heyday. They look like her, but they are not. They were, yes, her companions. Marta Domínguez worked at that station until a year ago as security guardthus culminating in his downfall.

That is where Marta Domínguez Azpeleta (Palencia, 1975) loses track of, perhaps the most important athlete in Spain in our century. European Champion. Silver in the World Cups. Countless podiums and medals. Best Spanish athlete two consecutive years. A symbol. Especially in her native Palencia, where she had a statue and a pavilion named after her.

From sporting glory to politics. Such an important character had little trouble prospering. From councilor in the Palencia City Council to senator for the PP. Mariano Rajoy announced that he was on the lists to make the leap to Congress when the scandal broke out. he saw himself implicated in Operation Greyhound, a plot of doping. And although she never tested positive, they ended up sanctioning her for 4 years because they deduced that she was doping by studying her biological passport.

Of those, they ran out withdrawing even his category of elite athlete, something that was published in the BOE. He lost his position in the Spanish Athletics Federation, he left the world of politics and his face was only seen in the media at the entrance to the courts. In Palencia they withdrew the name of the pavilion and moved the statue to its location.

It is now 20 years since he entered politics and 10 since the International Athletics Federation opened the file that ultimately ended his career. The Newspaper of Spainfrom the Prensa Ibérica group, goes into Palencia to look for (and find) Marta Domínguez, the athlete with the pink ribbon, who ended up losing even the plaque with her name on the statue.

the pink ribbon

– Marta ran since she was little, just like her sisters. But she did not start here in Palencia, but in Venta de Baños, where she has always been very close to that town.

It is told by one of her neighbors, who has known her since she was a child. Palencia is known for her love of athletics. And 15 kilometers from her house, in the municipality of 6,000 inhabitants of Venta de Baños, she began to take her first steps, Marta Domínguez. A young middle-distance runner who stood out because he ran with a pink ribbon in the hair that a relative gave him. Some say his grandmother, some say one of his 8 uncles.

He started in athletics at the age of 9 and at 10 they already saw his potential: short stature (1.63), compact and resistant. Ideal for background and middle ground. At 14 he won the Spanish 2000 cadet championship and at 15 he was already breaking records for ‘promises’ (under 22 years) in the 3000, which ended up becoming his favorite distance.

Marta Domínguez, during her time as an elite athlete. Atlas

In 2001 came the international successes (silver at the World Cup in Edmonton) and in 2002 the gold medals: one in the 3,000 in the European Indoor Championships (Vienna) and another in the 5,000 outdoors in Munich. Both in 2001 and 2003, the year in which she again made silver at the World Cups in Paris, was named best Spanish athlete. A star was born.

popular politics

As a politician, she was very loved here, because you always saw her at the races, on the street talking to people. She was a very popular person, an idol. Everyone was excited to see someone from Palencia on TV.

This newspaper is remembered by neighbors around Campo de la Juventud, the place where the Palencia Sports Technical Improvement Center is located. At the door there is a statue with the figure of him. It is not its original enclave. Even sculpture ended up being relegated. A statue whose aesthetic result Marta never liked. It dates from the times when her name was heard more in political spheres than in tartan.

In January 2003, the PP of Palencia announced that Marta Domínguez would go on the lists as non-attached, since she was not affiliated. She became a councilor and served her entire term, until 2007. There was an impasse of 4 years, in which she starred in one of the most dramatic moments of a Spanish athlete in the Olympic Games. She was in Beijing 2008. When she was in the leading group of 3,000, and 200 meters from the finish line, suffered a spectacular fall that forced her to leave.

She was elected senator for the Populares for Palencia in 2011. In 2012 they discovered said statue, made by the sculptor Luis Alonso, which was originally located in the sports pavilion. Some facilities that also bore the name of the athlete. Then the scandal had already jumped.

Marta Domínguez, during her time as a politician in which she became a senator for the PP. assigned

Operation Greyhound

– “All of us in Palencia are glad that Marta has been freed from all guilt in the framework of ‘Operation Greyhound’ according to the new order issued by the Examining Judge, Mercedes Pérez Barrios (…) and we propose her as a candidate for the Prince of Asturias, because he has all the merits to achieve it and it would mean a restitution of his honor”.

They were statements by Heliodoro Gallego, a socialist spokesperson from Palencia, in 2011. At that time, Operation Greyhound had already exploded. The largest alleged doping plot in the history of Spain till the date. With names as significant as that of the athletes Alberto García, Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes or that of Marta herself, who immediately became the icon of the operation, for being her best-known face.

According to the investigators, the medalist “played the role of supplier of substances and for this reason she risked her prestige and her position as vice president of the Athletics Federation, from which she was dismissed”. was arrested and her house, the scene of the searches of the Civil Guard. The agents left their home with a laptop, a metal briefcase and a box. The media published that numerous substances were taken. Marta always defended that they never found anything.

The case was filed and Marta’s implications dismissed. The judge who investigated the Galgo operation canceled the wiretaps practiced since 2010 by the Civil Guard to the athlete. “A sort of confusion is observed between punishable conduct in the sports field and criminal conduct, since what is actually revealed are the suspicions that Marta Domínguez was a consumer of prohibited substances in sport, which would give rise to a sanction in said area but never to a criminal accusation”, pointed out the magistrate.

Marta Domínguez testified several times in court for the doping plot. jose louis rock

And although Marta gave an interview and came out to defend her innocence because she had never tested positive, the International Athletics Federation opened a doping file on her for a series of irregularities in her biological passport. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) sanctioned her in November 2015 with three years of official sports inactivity. Also withdrew its results achieved between August 5, 2009 and July 8, 2013. She was revoked her title of world champion in the 3000 meter hurdles at the 2009 World Cup in Berlin and the runner-up in the 2010 European Championship. The BOE published that Marta Domínguez was no longer an elite athlete definitively. There she began her true decline.


“I keep greeting Marta if I see her, because we had a good relationship and I think there was a lot of injustice with her. Probably because of her political affiliation. I don’t go into what happened. But she did do a lot for Palencia.”

He tells it to The Newspaper of Spain Facundo Pelayo, a popular politician from Palencia who held the position of Councilor for Sports when the plenary session of Palencia withdrew all honors in the city from his favorite daughter. He removed his name from the municipal pavilion and removed the statue of the athlete who was in said enclave, changing its location to Cardenal Cisneros Avenue. Without a single plate that said that this was a tribute to the best Palencian athlete in history. All the distinctions were withdrawn and Marta disappeared from public life.

“He spent some time training children in this center, but then he stopped coming. They told us that he was training kids in Venta de Baños, but they also told us later that he left it,” one of the people from the aforementioned center tells us. sports technology. Martha stopped appearing on the tracks in which she had been preparing for so many years and prepared to integrate into everyday life, the one that had been alien to her while she was a star.

The track is lost in the Renfe station in his city, where he worked as a security guard for the Eulen company during the pandemic. At the same time, it was published that the former athlete was preparing to join the state security forces. For the National Police Corps and for the Local Police of Palencia. In both tests he scored more than a nine (out of 20) in the physical tests. but in both failed the theoretical part.

Marta Dominguez during her time as a guard at the Palencia station. assigned

the meeting

“No, no. Not journalists.”

It is the concise answer that Marta Domínguez gives to The Newspaper of Spain when we finally found her in Palencia, before closing the door of her house. Her initials are still on the front door handle. M and D, remembering her glory days.

we found her dressed as an athlete and talking at the door of his house with a teenager who is also dressed to run. It is her current occupation, one of the residents of the area tells us before we finally manage to talk to her. Nevertheless, Marta declines to speak when she knows that the idea is to interview her. She waves her hand rejecting the proposal, repeats no several times, and twists her face into some sort of apology just before closing the door to her house.

Marta still doesn’t want to talk. The media and political pressure were very strong. Starting with his own countrymen from Palencia. She now lives withdrawn from public life and has no sign of returning. She continues to cling to athletics, which actually gave her glory, even if it was in her role as a coach for young promises. She no longer wears a pink ribbon or appears in the media, but she continues to run through Palencia as she has been doing since she was little.

2023-06-05 04:51:03
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