Marta Domínguez

Marta Domínguez Azpeleta (born 3 November 1975) is a Spanish former runner and politician. She competes mainly in the steeplechase. She has represented Spain four times at the Olympics and has competed at the World Championships on six occasions.

Marta Domínguez
Marta Dominguez portrait.jpg
Personal information
Full nameMarta Domínguez Azpeleta
Born (1975-11-03) 3 November 1975 (age 45)
Palencia, Spain
Height1.63 m (5 ft 4 in)
Weight52 kg (115 lb)
Marta Domínguez
Designated Spanish Senator
for Palencia
Assumed office
13 December 2011

As a 5000m runner, Domínguez won a bronze at the 1998 European Athletics Championships and reached the global podium at the 2001 World Championships in Athletics, winning the silver medal. She scored a gold medal double in 2002 by taking a 3000 metres win at the European Athletics Indoor Championships, before going on to become European champion at the 2002 European Championships. She achieved silver medals in the same events at the IAAF World Indoor Championships and 2003 World Championships in Athletics the following year. She retained her European crown at the 2006 European Athletics Championships.

Domínguez has been accused of both dealing and using performance-enhancing drugs on multiple occasions. In December 2010, she was arrested for her connection in a doping ring as part of Operación Galgo;[1][2] she was acquitted in 2011.[2] In May 2013, it was reported that Domínguez had failed a bio-passport test in 2009.[3] In 2015, she was banned from competing for three years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport for irregularities in her biological passport[4][5] and stripped of her status as a Spanish national athlete.[6] This annulled all of Domínguez's competitive results from August 2009 to July 2013, including her 2009 world championship in steeplechase. Her personal best in the steeplechase is now listed by the IAAF as 9:09.39 from the last race she ran six days before the official doping ban period went into place.


Domínguez competed early in her career at 1,500, 5,000 and 10,000 metres. She competed as a 20-year old in the 1996 Summer Olympics, finishing 9th in her initial heat in the 1,500m event. In 1998 Domínguez won her first championship medal in the European Championships in Budapest in the 5,000m, winning bronze behind Sonia O'Sullivan, who won gold and Gabriela Szabo, who took silver. In 2002, she won these events at the European indoor and outdoor championships, and won her second straight title in 2006 in the 5,000 metres at the European outdoor championship (also obtaining the Championship Record). She also has silver medals from the World Championships in 2001 and 2003, and she was named Spanish Athlete of the Year in both years.

Domínguez is a six-time national champion in the women's 5,000 metres. Her only Olympic appearance in the event was in 2000. She missed the 2004 Summer Olympics due to injury and returned in 2005 with a 14th place at the World Championships.

In 2006, after winning the gold medal at the European Championship in the 5,000 metres, she became the most decorated Spanish athlete ever. She also broke the Spanish record at the 10,000 metres at the same event, where she finished 7th. In addition to her track career she has competed in cross country running, winning the Cross de Atapuerca in 2006 and taking the title at the European Cross Country Championships the following year. She ended 2007 with a win at Palencia's most prominent international athletics competition, the Cross Internacional de Venta de Baños.[7]

Marta Domínguez shadowing Zarudneva en route to silver in the 2010 European final.

During the 2008 season, Domínguez started running the 3,000 metre steeplechase, breaking the Spanish record in her first race. Contesting the event at the 2008 Summer Olympics, Domínguez was among the leaders with 250 metres to go, when she clipped a barrier and fell to the track. She did not finish the race.

Domínguez beat her own 3,000 metre steeplechase national record by over five seconds at a track meet in Málaga in June 2009. Following her improvements, she downplayed talk of medals at the 2009 World Championships, stating that she was only focusing on improving her technique and that Olympic Champion Gulnara Samitova-Galkina was a strong favourite.[8] She then went on to win the gold medal in the event.

In 2010, she ran at the Cursa de Bombers in Barcelona and finished in third, despite suffering from an illness in the week prior to the event.[9] In July 2010 she won a silver medal at the 2010 European Athletics Championships in Barcelona. She and Yuliya Zarudneva engaged in a duel for the title, but it was the Russian who prevailed, reversing their positions at the World Championships the previous year. Domínguez was not disappointed to lose, however, saying "I can't complain as I have been European champion twice in the 5,000m... It's impossible to win always."[10] Domínguez fell pregnant that year and ruled herself out of the 2011 season in order to focus on starting a family with her husband Diego Bercianos.[11]

Domínguez competed in her fourth Olympics in 2012 in London in the steeplechase. At 36, she was the oldest athlete in the final round, where she finished 12th.[12]

2010 doping arrestEdit

In December 2010, Domínguez, together with 13 other people including her coach, were arrested during "Operación Galgo" (Operation Greyhound), a major criminal investigation into sports doping carried out by the Guardia Civil. Her home was raided and several items were taken including her laptop, a briefcase and a box. Domínguez was released on charges of trafficking and distribution of doping substances. She was also suspended from her position as vice president of the Spanish Athletics Federation. According to the newspaper, Público, the leader of the alleged ring was Dr Eufemiano Fuentes and his sister Yolanda, the former also being at the centre of the notorious Operación Puerto doping ring in 2006.[13] The lack of prosecutions arising from Operación Puerto led to criticism of the Spanish authorities for an apparently ineffective approach to doping in sport, and prompted the Spanish government to pass tougher anti-doping legislation that now makes the supply and use of performance-enhancing drugs illegal, with penalties including jail terms.[14]

According to El País, the investigations conducted by the Guardia Civil under Operación Galgo have also directly implicated Domínguez in the Operación Puerto doping ring. A blood bag seized during the Puerto investigation, and which Eufemiano Fuentes had recorded as belonging to an athlete whom he codenamed "Rosa", accompanied by her mobile telephone number, was attributed to Marta Domínguez.[15]

According to El País, in July 2010 Domínguez was being wiretapped by the Guardia Civil. She was taped talking, among others, with Alberto Garcia, a Spanish runner banned in 2003 for using EPO, an illegal substance. In one conversation presented at the trial Domínguez, according to Garcia, asked him for how long EPO is detectable in blood tests after use.[16] However, the judge ruled that the wiretapping of Domínguez phone was not justified, and ordered to exclude this and all other conversations from evidence of the trial.[17][18]

The judge later acquitted her when it was found the substances that were believed to be illegal were in fact legal.[19]

2015 doping banEdit

On 19 November 2015, she was banned for three years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport and was stripped of her 2009 gold medal from the IAAF World Championships in Berlin.[20] The punishment stems from Domínguez's ties to doping as well as issues with her biological passport. All of Domínguez's results from 5 August 2009 until 8 July 2013 have been nullified, making her eligible to return to competition in 2018.[4][5]


In November 2011, Domínguez was elected one of Palencia's four members of the Senate of Spain in the 2011 general election. She ran under a People's Party list.[21]

Personal bestsEdit

Domínguez winning the 2007 European Cross Country Championships


Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
Representing   Spain
1994 World Junior Championships Lisbon, Portugal 2nd 1500 m 4:14.59
1995 World Indoor Championships Barcelona, Spain 6th 3000 m 9:01.79
World Championships Gothenburg, Sweden semi-final 1500 m 4:18.72
1996 European Indoor Championships Stockholm, Sweden 3rd 3000 m 8:53.34
Olympic Games Atlanta, Georgia, United States heats 1500 m 4:15.00
1997 World Indoor Championships Paris, France 5th 3000 m 8:52.74
European U23 Championships Turku, Finland 5th 1500m 4:16.95
3rd 5000m 15:49.96
1998 European Indoor Championships Valencia, Spain 3rd 3000 m 8:57.72
European Championships Budapest, Hungary 3rd 5000 m 15:10.54
1999 World Championships Seville, Spain 9th 5000 m 15:16.93
2000 European Indoor Championships Ghent, Belgium 3rd 3000 m 8:44.08
Olympic Games Sydney, Australia heats 5000 m 15:45.07
World Cross Country Championships Vilamoura, Portugal 14th Short race (4.18 km) 13:23
2001 World Indoor Championships Lisbon, Portugal 4th 3000 m 8:40.98
World Championships Edmonton, Canada 2nd 5000 m 15:06.59
2002 European Indoor Championships Vienna, Austria 1st 3000 m 8:53.87
European Championships Munich, Germany 1st 5000 m 15:14.76
2003 World Indoor Championships Birmingham, England 2nd 3000 m 8:42.17
World Championships Paris, France 2nd 5000 m 14:52.26
2004 World Indoor Championships Budapest, Hungary 4th 3000 m 9:12.85
2005 World Championships Helsinki, Finland 14th 5000 m 15:02.30
2006 European Championships Gothenburg, Sweden 1st 5000 m 14:56.18
7th 10,000 m 30:51.69
2007 European Indoor Championships Birmingham, England 2nd 3000 m 8:44.40
European Cross Country Championships Toro, Spain 1st Senior race (8.2 km) 26:58
2008 Olympic Games Beijing, China 3000 m st. DNF
2009 World Championships Berlin, Germany DSQ (1st) 3000 m st.
2010 European Championships Barcelona, Spain DSQ (2nd) 3000 m st.
2012 Olympic Games London, United Kingdom 12th 3000 m st. 9:36.45


  1. ^ "Athlete implicated in doping probe". Herald Sun. 2010-12-10. Archived from the original on 2012-12-30. Retrieved 2010-12-09.
  2. ^ a b Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ "Sonia O'Sullivan's Munich conqueror has biological passport anomalies". The Irish Times.
  4. ^ a b World champion steeplechaser Marta Dominguez banned for doping
  5. ^ a b Spanish runner Marta Dominguez banned 3 years by CAS Archived 2015-11-20 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Spain's Sports Council strips Dominguez of athlete status".
  7. ^ Valiente, Emeterio (2007-12-16). Tola and Domínguez successful in Venta de Baños. IAAF. Retrieved on 2009-12-27.
  8. ^ Valiente, Emeterio (2009-06-28). 9:16.50 3000m Steeplechase world lead for Domínguez in Málaga. IAAF. Retrieved on 2009-06-28.
  9. ^ Valiente, Emeterio (2010-04-19). Menjo blazes 27:04 10Km in Barcelona. IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-04-23.
  10. ^ Zarudneva gets her due with steeplechase gold Archived 2012-05-25 at European Athletics (2010-08-02). Retrieved on 2010-08-02.
  11. ^ Domínguez pregnant and will miss 2011 Archived 2010-11-12 at the Wayback Machine. European Athletics (2010-11-09). Retrieved on 2010-11-11.
  12. ^ "London 2012 3000m steeplechase women - Olympic Athletics". 2019-03-07.
  13. ^ Marta Domínguez: "Ahora no tengo" Pú 2010-12-09. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  14. ^ "Track Star Among 14 Detained". The New York Times. 2010-12-09. Archived from the original on 2012-09-10. Retrieved 2010-12-09.
  15. ^ Una bolsa de sangre llevó hasta Marta. El País 2010-12-15. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  16. ^ País, Ediciones El (2011-04-08). "Reportaje | la pista del Fortecortín". El País.
  17. ^ "La juez dice que las escuchas a Marta "no estaban justificadas"".
  18. ^ "Judge clears track-and-field star Domínguez of doping supply guilt". El País. 2011-05-16.
  19. ^ "Marta Domínguez, exculpada de tráfico de sustancias prohibidas".
  20. ^ "Marta Domínguez Banned for 3 Years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)" (PDF) (Press release). Court of Arbitration for Sport. November 19, 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 28, 2015. Retrieved 2015-11-19.
  21. ^ Marta Domínguez, elegida senadora del PP por Palencia El Periódico; 21 November 2011

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Virginia Ruano
Anabel Medina
Spanish Sportswoman of the Year
Succeeded by
Edurne Pasaban