September 6, 1978|
Süreyya Ayhan Kop (born September 6, 1978) is a Turkish former middle distance track runner who specialised in the 1500 metres. In November 2009, she was banned for lifetime by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) due to failing a doping test.
Ayhan ran for the sports clubs MTA Ankara and Fenerbahçe Istanbul. She then joined the Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality Sports Club. She holds Turkish records in 800 m (2:00.64) and 1500 m (3:55.33). She became the first Turkish woman ever to reach an Olympic semi-final during her participation in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. The next year, she became the first Turkish woman to reach a World Championship final. She was the best European woman athlete running 1500 m in two consecutive years 2002 and 2003.
Athletics career 
Early career 
Ayhan's father is a former amateur athlete, a local cross-country champion of her hometown Çankırı. He was both a role model and supporter for young Süreyya when she started athletics in the junior high school. In 1992, she started running competitively at the Athletics Training Center in Çankırı. "It was during a local championship and there my present coach Yücel Kop discovered me. I loved running since I was a little girl. I think it is the only activity that evolves and I still do" she said once. She graduated from the Kahramanmaraş Sütçü İmam Üniversitesi in sport and physical education.
Born in Korgun, Çankırı, she established herself as Turkey's top 1500 m runner with a win at the 1999 national championships, setting a Turkish record. The following year she became the country's first female semi-finalist at the Olympic Games. She reached the final of the 2001 World Championships in Athletics (another first for Turkish female athletes), became the Universiade 1500 m champion and won a silver at the 2001 Mediterranean Games.
World-class breakthrough 
Prior to the 2002 European Championships in Munich, Ayhan was unknown outside of Turkey. In 2002, she produced a great performance to win Turkey's first gold medal in a European Championships by out-sprinting the celebrated World and Olympics champion Gabriela Szabo from Romania for the 1500 m title 2 seconds ahead with 3:58.79, leading from the gun to the finish. She was later named the 2002 European Female Athlete of the Year and finished that year on top of the world 1500 m rankings. The Turkish track star has been a scholarship holder with the Olympic Solidarity program since November 2001.
Anticipation built up prior to the 2004 Summer Olympics, but she withdrew due to an injury. However, drug testers were obstructed in their duties during a routine drug test around this period and she was suspended from competitive athletics for two years for breaking testing rules. She returned to competition but failed another test in November 2007, this time after her sample tested positive for the steroids stanozolol and methandienone metabolites. This second offence meant she received a lifetime ban from the sport but she contested the ruling, taking the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). An independent tribunal reduced her ban to four years but the CAS reversed the decision, upholding the lifetime ban and thus forcing her to retire.
Doping ban 
Süreyya Ayhan, one of Turkey's best hopes for a gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics, withdrew from the games due to an injured tendon during a training in Germany. Allegations that Ayhan may have attempted to cheat on a pre-Olympic doping test surfaced in August after testers reportedly complained of being obstructed from carrying out their work. She was cleared of doping allegations by the IAAF, but the athlete violated rules while taking her test. IAAF ruled that Ayhan had not taken performance-enhancing drugs, but said the athlete had broken testing rules, and she was banned for two years. Her trainer, Yucel Kop, who is also her husband, has long rejected cheating allegations, but acknowledged obstructing a male tester from entering a room during a urine test. "It doesn't mean that we won't be punished" Kop said. "(But) there was no doping, no switching of samples, (just) violation of rules" he added. "I will not give up (running) until I have experienced an Olympic championship" Ayhan said.
She returned to competition but failed another test while she was training in the United States in November 2007, this time after her sample tested positive for the steroids stanozolol and methandienone metabolites. This second offence meant she received a lifetime ban from the sport but she contested the ruling, taking the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The Turkish Court of Arbitration for Sport reduced her ban to four years. Ayhan took the banning to the CAS in Lausanne, however the international court reversed the decision in November 2009, upholding the lifetime ban and thus forcing her to retire.
Social role 
Ayhan was a prominent Turkish sportswoman in a country which has a low female participation rate. Turkey's sports branches had a total 65,948 licensed women athletes and track and field was a minor sport; she was one of only 1632 licensed woman athletes, in a country with 35 million women population. Her success raised the profile of the sport in her country.
The Turkish Post Office printed a commemorative stamp in conjunction with the Summer Olympic Games in Athens with a picture of Süreyya Ayhan that came in circulation on August 13, 2004. The Post Office broke so with an unwritten tradition for issuing stamps of past personalities only.
Personal bests 
|800 metres||2:00.64||Istanbul, Turkey||August 20, 2000|
|1500 metres||3:55.33||Brussels, Belgium||September 5, 2003|
|2003||3:55:33||Brussels, Belgium||September 5, 2003|
|2002||3:57:75||Brussels, Belgium||August 30, 2002|
|2001||4:06.91||Beijing, China||August 29, 2001|
|2000||4:03:02||Brussels, Belgium||August 25, 2000|
|1999||4:14:80||İzmir, Turkey||May 12, 1999|
Competition record 
|ECR||European Championships record||NR||National record||PB||Personal best|
|1993||Turkish Stars Indoor Championship||İzmir, Turkey||1st||800 m||2:18 NR|
|1995||Memorial Cezmi Or||Istanbul, Turkey||5th||1500 m||4:38:29|
|European Champion Clubs Cup||Belgium||2nd||1500 m||4:37:23|
|1996||International Juniors Championships||Austria||2nd|
|Israeli Championships||Israel||1st||1500 m||4:34:84|
|European Champion Clubs Cup||Italy||2nd|
|1997||Israeli Championships||Tel Aviv, Israel||1st|
|International Seniors Championships||Lithuania||3rd||1500 m||4:25:51|
|1998||5th Balkan Indoor Track Championships||Piraeus, Greece||2nd||1500 m||4:31:13|
|Memorial Cezmi Or||Istanbul, Turkey||6th||1000 m||2:46:26 NR|
|1999||Turkish Athletics Championships||İzmir, Turkey||1st||1500 m||4:14:00 NR|
|2000||Clubs National Athletics Championships||Istanbul, Turkey||1st||800 m||2:00:64|
|Memorial van Damme||Brussels, Belgium||?||1500 m||4:03:02 NR|
|27th Summer Olympic Games||Sydney, Australia||(semifinal) 8th||1500 m||4:09:42|
|Balkan Indoor Championships||Romania||2nd||1500 m||4:05:53 NR|
|2001||Romanian Open Championships||Romania||2nd||1500 m||4:05:82|
|IAAF World Championships in Athletics||Edmonton, Canada||8th||1500 m||4:08:17|
|Universiade||Beijing, China||1st||1500 m||4:06:91|
|Mediterranean Games||Tunis, Tunisia||2nd||1500 m||4:10:69|
|2002||European Athletics Championships||Munich, Germany||1st||1500 m||3:58:79 ECR NR|
|Memorial van Damme||Brussels, Belgium||1st||1500 m||3:57:75 PB NR|
|ISTAF||Berlin, Germany||1st||1500 m||3:58:43|
|IAAF World Cup in Athletics||Madrid, Spain||1st||1500 m||4:02:57|
|2003||European Nations Cup||1st||1500 m||4:06:63|
|ISTAF||Berlin, Germany||1st||1500 m||3:59:58|
|Weltklasse||Zurich, Switzerland||1st||1500 m||3:55:60 NR|
|IAAF World Championships in Athletics||Paris St-Denis, France||2nd||1500 m||3:59:04|
|Memorial van Damme||Brussels, Belgium||1st||1500 m||3:55:33 PB NR|
|IAAF World Athletics Final||Monaco||1st||1500 m||3:57:72|
See also 
- Turkish star Kop handed life ban BBC Sport, November 11, 2009
- "Turkish runner Ayhan hit by doping ban", ABC Sports, February 2, 2005
- TAHKİM KURULU, AYHAN’IN CEZASINI 4 YILA İNDİRDİ İKİ DAKİKA GÜNCEL HABER MERKEZİ
- 'Süreyya Ayhan Kop ve Yücel Kop'un davası, uluslararası bir davadır' Nethaber, 18 Temmuz 2008
|Women's European Athlete of the Year