Is there another gold for Newlyn's Tallent?

Jared Tallent

Jared Tallent

Newlyn-raised Jared Tallent isn't rushing to public judgement after the man who beat him to a Rio Olympics race walking gold medal was provisionally suspended over an alleged anti-doping rules breach.

Reigning Olympic and world champion Matej Toth has been asked by the International Association of Athletics Federations to explain anomalies in his athlete biological passport, which tracks blood data over time for signs of drug use.

It's just the latest body blow for race walking and more distressing news for Australia's belated 2012 Olympic champion Tallent, a passionate anti-doping campaigner.

Slovakian Toth beat Tallent to gold in the 50km race walk at both last year's Rio Games and the 2015 world championships, but the Australian has always believed his friend was clean.

Toth revealed his situation overnight and announced his withdrawal from next month's world titles in London, where Tallent will compete as the favourite.

The 34-year-old Toth, who has spoken out against doping and backed the Russian team being barred from Rio, said he was shocked to receive the IAAF's notification.

"Since I have always stood up against any unfair practices throughout my career, I totally rule out any misconduct," Toth said.

“In this sense, this message has shocked me.”

Tallent has decided not to comment until the investigation has run its course, but the revelation must be tough for the Australian who last year retrospectively received the 2012 London Olympics gold medal for the same event after Russian winner Sergey Kirdyapkin was found to be a drug cheat.

Toth faces a four-year ban and, should the IAAF conclude his explanation is insufficient and target him for doping, opens the possibility of Tallent receiving a second Olympic gold medal years down the line.

Tallent's belief in Toth's drug-free stance was clear after last year's Olympic race.  

"I didn't have to worry about any cheats in the race who were going to spoil the party for all the clean athletes," Tallent said at the time.

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