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Archive for  June 2016

Thursday 09, Jun 2016

Maria Sharapova Suspended for Two Years

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In a report issued on Wednesday, the International Tennis Federation has announced five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova has been suspended from competition for two years. This was after she failed a drug test at this year’s Australian Open for Meldonium (Mildronate), a drug used to increase blood flow.

Meldonium was banned on January 1, 2016 by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Maria Sharapova claimed she was taking the substance since 2006 and was not aware that the status of the drug had been changed. The ITF said while the violation of the rules by Sharapova was not intentional, but she is the sole author of her misfortune and bears sole responsibility for the contravention, and very significant fault, in failing to take any steps to check whether the continued use of this medicine was permissible.

Sharapova said she will “immediately appeal” in a Facebook post. The Russian tennis star said she cannot accept an unfairly harsh two-year suspension and remarked the tribunal, whose members were selected by the ITF, agreed that she did not do anything intentionally wrong, yet they seek to keep me from playing tennis for two years. The five-time Grand Slam champion added she will immediately appeal the suspension portion of this ruling to CAS, the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

In March, Sharapova was provisionally suspended after she announced at a Los Angeles press conference that she had failed a doping test for Meldonium in January. The tennis star however did not mention that she also failed an out-of-competition test for the same drug in February, which was highlighted by the ITF panel’s 33-page ruling.

The ruling says the manner of its use, on match days and when undertaking intensive training, is only consistent with an intention to boost her energy levels. The ITF panel also said it may be that she genuinely believed that Mildronate had some general beneficial effect on her health but the manner in which the medication was taken, its concealment from the anti-doping authorities, her failure to disclose it even to her own team, and the lack of any medical justification must inevitably lead to the conclusion that she took Mildronate for the purpose of enhancing her performance. It was further found by the panel that only her father and her manager, Max Eisenbud of IMG, knew she was taking the drug then.

The ITF panel also discovered that Maria Sharapova also did not note her use of Mildronate on any of the seven doping control forms she turned in from October 22, 2014, to January 26, 2016. The decision said she must have known that taking a medication before a match, particularly one not currently prescribed by a doctor, was of considerable significance and it was further added this was a deliberate decision, not a mistake. The ITF panel also ruled keeping her Meldonium use from her team and anti-doping authorities constituted a very serious breach of her duty to comply with the rules.

Meanwhile, Russian Tennis Federation president Shamil Tarpishchev has remarked Ekaterina Makarova would take the spot of Maria Sharapova on the country’s Summer Games roster.

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Tuesday 07, Jun 2016

Twenty Weightlifting Positive Tests From 2008 And 2012 Olympics

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The International Weightlifting Federation has announced it was informed by the International Olympic Committee of 10 positive doping cases from the 2008 Beijing Games and 10 from the 2012 London Games, including medal winners.

In a statement sent, the IWF said the 10 from London were described as confirmed positives while the 10 Beijing tests were “presumed” positives that still require “B” sample analyses. The IWF revealed the positive tests included that of some medal winners but refused to give any names or nationalities. The 20 positive doping cases account for a larger part of the total of 55 positives which the International Olympic Committee has reported so far, including 32 from Beijing and 23 from London.

The IOC started retesting blood and urine samples after many eminent newspapers and whistleblowers alleged systematic cheating from the now-tainted Russian lab at the 2014 Winter Games. The present retesting program is targeting athletes who could possibly be eligible to compete at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August.

In another development, Russia has started to clean up sports in the country and suspended seven sports stars for doping offenses. It was reported by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) that a judo fighter has been hit with a four-year ban and six weightlifters have been banned for between two and eight years. Larisa Kobeleva, the 2014 world junior champion, has been suspended for four years along with Kseniya Kolomiyets and Anton Kotlayrov. Five-time Russian weightlifting champion Aminat Maskhadova and 2014 European junior silver medalist Yegor Ivanov have each been given doping bans of eight years. The 2015 Russian judo champion, Pyotr Khachirov, has received a four-year suspension and Nadezhda Ovchinnikova, the 2014 European champion, has been banned for two years.

The Russian sports ministry also announced a detailed series of reforms that are aimed at altering social attitudes to doping in Russia. The Ministry, in conjunction with the Council of Europe, will aim to educate young athletes with the message that doping is unacceptable. A ministry statement said all higher education institutions for professionals in the fields of sport and medicine will teach an anti-doping class. The statement further reads that lessons on anti-doping will be rolled out as part of the curriculum in schools across the country as a final step and also remarked that the classes on anti-doping will be taught as part of Physical Education classes, and will be obligatory for all children, meaning that it will reach millions of students across Russia.

Natalia Zhelanova, anti-doping adviser to the minister of sport of Russia, said she was fully committed to clean up sports in the country. Zhelanova added she wants to ensure the next generation of athletes is properly educated about doping issues. The anti-doping adviser also said we recognize that to create real change we must inform athletes from the very beginning of their careers and remarked it is about instilling the right values from the outset, but we hope this initiative will be supported by wider society as this is a change that all Russians must embrace.

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Sunday 05, Jun 2016

Jamaican Sprinter Fails 2008 Doping Retest

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Jamaican Olympic sprint relay gold medalist Nesta Carter has returned an anti-doping violation for Methylhexanamine, a banned stimulant.

The positive test was announced after the re-testing of 454 samples from the 2008 Beijing Games. According to media reports, traces of Methylhexanamine were discovered in the ‘A’ sample of Carter. The sample was part of a batch of 454 from the 2008 Games that was ordered to be retested by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The Jamaican, who won gold in the 4×100 meters relay with Jamaican team mates Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell, and Michael Frater in Beijing, could face sanctions only if his “B” sample also tests positive for the substance.  Carter’s ‘B’ sample test is due to be reanalyzed in Lausanne, Switzerland, later this month.

Carter had won individual 100m bronze at the 2013 World Championships and has been an important member of the all-conquering Jamaican 4x100m team led by Bolt with a 100m personal best of 9.78sec set in 2010.

Bolt, the fastest man on the earth, could now be stripped of one of his six Olympic titles after Carter was reported as among those to fail a drugs test in the reanalysis of urine and blood samples from the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Carter, the sixth fastest 100m runner of all time, ran the opening leg eight years ago at the Olympic final when Jamaica stormed to victory in a world-record 37.10sec, which helped Bolt to a clean sweep of sprint titles as the Jamaican star burst onto the global stage at his first Games.

Mike Fennell, president of the Jamaica Olympic Association, refused to deny or confirm the news. Carter and his agent declined to make comments. Methylhexanamine has been on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code prohibited list since 2004 and the substance was reclassified on the 2011 list as a “specified substance” that covers specified substances as those that are more susceptible to a “credible, non-doping explanation”. Methylhexanamine is commonly used as an ingredient in dietary supplements and was sold as a nasal decongestant in the United States until 1983.

The Jamaican Olympic Association has confirmed it has received a notice that an athlete from its 2008 team tested positive for performance enhancing drugs. The JOA would not release the name of the athlete, citing confidentiality rules.

IOC recently decided that any doping cases arising from the re-tests will be dealt with directly by them. Usually, such cases are handled by the relevant national federations and national anti-doping agencies. Last week, IOC president Thomas Bach said we want to keep dopers away from the Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro and this is why we are acting swiftly now. Bach, while announcing the re-testing of 265 samples from the London Olympics, said he had already appointed a disciplinary commission, which has the full power to take all decisions on behalf of the IOC.

IOC spokesman Mark Adams said what we want to do, and are trying to do, is target athletes who have positive results and stop them from competing in Rio.

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Friday 03, Jun 2016

Russian Cyclist And Turkish Boxer Fail Olympic Doping Retests

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A Russian cyclist and a Turkish boxer have been provisionally suspended after their doping samples from the 2012 London Olympics came back positive in retesting.

Track cyclist Yekaterina Gnidenko and boxer Adem Kilicci both tested positive for anabolic steroids, the governing bodies of their sports said on Thursday. The Turkish boxing federation and Kilicci, who lost in the quarterfinals of the middleweight division in London, have been notified of the findings and his suspension.

The Turkish Olympic Committee remarked it was extremely disappointed by the positive test of Kilicci. In a statement, the committed said we will now follow the official procedure and will announce appropriate action in due course. The statement further reads we in the meantime are redoubling our efforts to encourage more rigorous testing in parallel with greater education of all athletes and their entourages throughout Turkish sport.

Gnidenko was a late substitute in the 2012 Olympic sprint after Russian teammate Viktoria Baranova failed a doping test and was expelled from the games. Gnidenko competed in the women’s sprint and keirin at the 2012 Games but did not won a medal and now faces being stripped of her keirin silver medal from the World Championships later that year.

AIBA said Kilicci had qualified for Rio, while Gnidenko is not listed on the Russian national team squad list for this season.

In another development, a Jamaican athlete is among those who have failed a doping test after samples were re-examined from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. According to sources, the athlete returned an adverse analytical finding for the A-sample and the result of the B-sample test is expected from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accredited laboratory in Lausanne within a few days. Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association president Dr. Warren Blake said his organization had not been notified of any rule violation, while Jamaica Olympic Association president Michael Fennell declined comment.

Jamaica won six gold, three silver, and two bronze medals at the 2008 Olympics, all in athletics.

Last month, the IOC said 31 athletes from six different sports and 12 countries had tested positive in the retesting of 2008 samples. The Olympics body also said it has initiated disciplinary action against the unidentified athletes who would not be allowed to compete in August’s Rio de Janeiro games.

Russia admitted that 14 athletes belonged to it. The country, despite making tall claims about fight against doping, is not learning its lessons yet. Two-time Olympic champion Alexander Zubkov has been elected president of Russia’s troubled bobsleigh federation. Zubkov was among those involved in an elaborate doping cover-up scheme during the Sochi Games in 2014. Russian Sports minister Vitaly Mutko welcomed Zubkov’s election and remarked professionals from the sports world should be in charge of sports in the country. The Russian bobsleigh federation demoted the federation’s former chief, Georgy Bedzhamov, who requested political asylum in Europe after fleeing Russia earlier this year. Bedzhamov, the co-owner of Vneshprombank, left the country after the central bank put the lender into temporary administration. Bedzhamov’s sister Larisa Markus, president of Vneshprombank, has been accused of fraud and was detained.

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Wednesday 01, Jun 2016

Canadian Olympian Issues Emotional Statement After Wife Named In Doping Scandal

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Canadian shot putter Dylan Armstrong has issued an emotional statement after news emerged that his wife Russian Olympian Evgeniia Kolodko tested positive for a banned substance.

This was after Russia’s public sports channel Match TV reported that hammer throw gold medalist Tatyana Beloborodova and 2012 shot put silver medalist Kolodko tested positive for prohibited substances from their A samples. Evgeniia, the Russian shot putter, won the silver medal in the shot put competition at the 2012 Olympic Games in London and recorded her personal best of 20.48m. A few days back, the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) confirmed eight of its athletes have registered positive in doping retests for the 2012 London Games.

In the statement, Dylan said he learned earlier this week that Evgeniia whom he met in 2012 and married in a private civil ceremony in British Columbia Canada in September 2015 is among the eight Russian athletes recently named by the International Olympic Committee as testing positive for doping during the 2012 London Olympics. Dylan added news of athlete doping is very disheartening for competitive athletes who are committed to competing clean and added he has never condoned doping in sport.

The Canadian shot putter born and raised in Kamloops said he knows personally how disheartening it can be after waiting more than 6 years after the 2008 Beijing to receive his Olympic bronze medal because of the doping practices of a competitor. In 2008, Armstrong finished fourth back and was just a centimeter behind bronze medalist Andrei Mikhnevich of Belarus. Last August, the fourth-place finish was upgraded to third after Mikhnevich was banned for life for a second doping offence.

The two-time Pan American Games champion added he has been consistently outspoken about my position on doping which is zero tolerance. Dylan added the news of her wife getting implicated in the Olympic doping scandal is especially difficult as it affects both the Olympic Athletic Community he is part of and his wife whom he loves deeply.

The former Commonwealth Games champion said he is not only a dedicated Olympic athlete but also a patriotic Canadian and a committed husband. Dylan added he therefore would encourage his wife to cooperate fully with the International Olympic Committee and with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) as they determine the appropriate actions to be taken. Dylan added he at the same time will offer his love, patience, and support to Evgeniia as she responds to the news of these doping test results in her home country of Russia and as she navigates her future as an elite athlete.

In the statement, Dylan further adds that any questions regarding the WADA testing, the investigative process and resulting decisions or determinations should be directed to the International Olympic Committee and/or the World Anti-Doping Agency. Dylan further commented that he will not be speaking on behalf of Evgeniia on this matter.

Dylan, who holds the Canadian national record and the Pan American Games record for shotput, currently trains with coach Anatoliy Bondarchuk in his home town of Kamloops, British Columbia.

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