– Updated 15 November 2011 –
Juha Lallukka, whose recent A sample tested positive for human growth hormone, may have been suspected of doping three years ago.
In 2008, Lallukka reportedly clashed with Finnish head coach Magnar Dalen. An article in Finland’s Iltalehti reported that Dalen demanded a separate or additional blood test of Lallukka. He subsequently accused Dalen of blacklisting him over high red blood cell counts. At the time, Lallukka said he had naturally high hemoglobin values. Dalen denied maintaining any blacklist.
Jarmo Punkkinen, who coached Lallukka during 2006-2007, expressed surprise at the positive test. “I would never have thought to hear such news,” he told Iltalehti. Punkkinen felt that Lallukka possessed “exceptional talent.” Punkkinen stopped coaching him at the end of that season, declining to elaborate about a disagreement between them.
Along with better known Ville Nousiainen, Lallukka skis for the Kouvola club. Through the club, the city of Kouvola sponsors both athletes to the tune of 6000 Euros per year. If Lallukka’s B sample tests positive for HGH, Kouvola city administrator Jari Niemelä said it will rescind their sponsorship. Nousiainen wouldn’t be affected.
The results of the B sample test aren’t back yet. The Finnish press is calling Lallukka’s failed test as an isolated incident rather than evidence of a systematic team doping regimen. Reijo Alakoski, Finnish ski federation president, declined comment to OXF while the B-sample is being tested.