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Archive for  March 2017

Saturday 11, Mar 2017

Andre Russell May Receive Extended Ban

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West Indies cricket all-rounder Andre Russell faces the prospect of receiving an extension on his doping ban to two years. This was after an appeal was made by the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) over the original sanction.

A doping ban of one year was handed out to Russell in January after he was found guilty of breaking anti-doping whereabouts regulations three times in a 12-month period which, under the code, classed as a failed test. Presently, the ban on Russell runs until January 30, 2018.

JADCO chief executive Carey Brown remarked that an appeal has been filed by his organization with Jamaica’s five-member anti-doping Appeals Tribunal.

Russell, who has played for the Sydney Thunder in the last two editions of the KFC Big Bash League, has played across different Twenty-Twenty cricket format. Sydney Thunder director of cricket Mike Hussey said the star West Indian cricketer had “been to hell and back” dealing with the anti-doping charge and recent injury issues. Hussey also said he had been going through a really tough time of late with all the ‘whereabouts’ saga going on and he’s been waiting to hear the finding of that hearing. Hussey added hopefully get this saga over and behind him, he gets cleared and he can get on living his life and getting back to really enjoying his cricket again. The Sydney Thunder director of cricket also commented that Russell had gone through a really tough time and he just wants him to get better and get his life back on track.

Russell, who plays for the West Indies internationally and for Jamaica in West Indian domestic cricket, bats predominantly in the middle order for the West Indies. The fast bowling all rounder made his Test cricket debut against Sri Lanka in November 2010 and made his ODI debut in the 2011 Cricket World Cup match against Ireland at Mohali.

Russell has received support from different quarters. The cricketer, who also plays for the IPL team Kolkata Knight Riders, received the support of the Team CEO Venky Mysore said the team has decided to retain the all-rounder in this auction despite him missing out on this edition of the tournament.

The team could have easily released the cricketer and went into the recently-concluded auction with an increased purse, but it decided against it and retained Russell. The CEO of Knight Riders said it is unfortunate that Russell has received a sanction for what he would call an administrative error. Kolkata Knight Riders have bought good replacements for him with the likes of Chris Woakes, Trent Boult, and Nathan Coulter-Nile signing for them in the auction.

Kolkata Knight Riders’ top-order batsman Manish Pandey also praised Russell. Pandey remarked Russell has played a big role in some of the games and added he had been the match-winner for us for a long time and his absence would be a bit of worry for us. Pandey, who won the IPL-2014 for KKR, also said we have players who may not be better than him but have similar abilities and talent replacing him and also commented that it will be a good tournament and mix of players.

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Thursday 09, Mar 2017

Russia Doping Reforms Not Happening Quick, Says WADA Chief

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World Anti-Doping Agency director general Olivier Niggli has remarked that the anti-doping reforms of Russia are not happening quickly enough. Niggli said though the country is making changes but he is not pleased with the speed he would have liked to see.

Speaking at the Tackling Doping in Sport conference, Niggli said it is too early to comment whether Russia will be allowed to compete at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. The World Anti-Doping Agency director general said we are working with them to see if things can be put into place and a credible system be reinstated in Russia in the coming months. Niggli added we will see where they are when we get closer to the Games and added they still have a number of months to do the right thing. The WADA director general commented the ball is in their camp and they know what they have to do.

Niggli also added the World Anti-Doping Agency is considering a complete ban on corticosteroids. Presently, athletes are allowed to make use of the anti-inflammatory medicines out of competition and can even take them in competition if they can prove a medical need, called a ‘therapeutic use exemption’ (TUE).

Russian President Vladimir Putin recently admitted to some shortcoming in the anti-doping system of the country. Putin however denied any state-sponsored program of systematic doping and cheating. The country claims to have implemented a series of changes to address the “roadmap” laid out by the World Anti-Doping Agency that will see it return to competition.

Last year, a WADA-commissioned McLaren report claimed that more than 1,000 Russians benefited from a state-sponsored doping program between 2011 and 2015. Several sports federations, including the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), have banned Russian athletes from international competition until the anti-doping efforts of the country have met requirements.

On the other hand, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) opted not to enforce a total ban on Russia.

In another development, the World Anti-Doping Agency added caffeine to its Monitoring Program for 2017. The addition means experts would now study whether athletes are using the substance “with the intent of enhancing performance.”

Caffeine can enhance speed and stamina. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) currently limits the consumption of caffeine for college athletes to 15 micrograms per milliliter, or roughly six to eight cups of coffee ingested two to three hours before a competition.

A report published by the Collegiate & Professional Sports Dietitians Association states caffeine consumed at very high levels – 6-9 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight – can cause gastrointestinal issues, nausea or shaking, as well as ‘overstimulation’ that can negatively impact training, sleep and performance.

Russian Federal Microbiological Agency chief Vladimir Uiba said Caffeine is currently on WADA’s waiting list of prohibited substances. Uiba added we will be forced to recommend everyone against drinking coffee as well as soft drinks containing caffeine if it eventually makes its way into the list of the prohibited substances. The Russian Federal Microbiological Agency chief added it can theoretically happen this year.

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Tuesday 07, Mar 2017

Kenya To Get Assistance From IAAF To Set Up Local Anti-Doping Lab

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The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) will support the plans of Kenya to set up an anti-doping laboratory in the country.

AAF Anti-Doping Manager Thomas Capdeville, speaking after a meeting with Athletics Kenya, Anti Doping Association of Kenya (ADAK) and government officials at Riadha house made this announcement.

Capdeville also remarked it is something we have been discussing and talked of length and added we at the world governing body of athletics are committed to ensuring this happens and most of the support we will give will involve us sending in specialists who are going to train the locals and if need be, we will even put in financial help. Capdeville also said he is happy with the efforts put in by Kenya to fight doping and the abuse of performance enhancing drugs and added more can be done to ensure the country remains clean and off suspicion.

ADAK Chief Executive Officer Japhter Rugut commented that a local anti-doping laboratory would prove to be advantageous for assisting the country step up its efforts in fighting doping as well as comprehensively reduce sample freighting costs. Rugut added it would be convenient to have the laboratory locally and also remarked that there is a challenge of ferrying the samples from the collection point, to Nairobi and transmitting the same to a WADA accredited lab. Rugut also said it would be great, logistically and financially. The ADAK Chief Executive Officer also said urine samples are not so hard because it can be ferried almost effortlessly and also said it would be more complicated now that we have to include blood samples given the time limits needed to reach the laboratory.

Director of Administration in the Ministry of Sports Harun Komen said fully equipped lab would be available to be inspected by IAAF and approved by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Komen affirmed that the government is aiding the process and the Kenyan government will look to use an already existing health facility and only equip it with necessary equipment other than building up an entirely new facility.

The process of blood testing will be introduced and implemented in phases, said Athletics Kenya president Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei. The Athletics Kenya president also commented that we have not been doing blood testing in Kenya for quite a while but it has reached a stage where we need to introduce some of this. Tuwei added we will introduce that slowly, step by step because we need to educate our athletes in terms of what they are supposed to do.

The Athletics Kenya president also remarked that we have spoken to IAAF, given reports on our progress and to WADA as well. We don’t want whatever happened to our athletes towards Rio last year to happen again this year and also commented that we want our athletes to go to London clean, confident and they go compete with the rest of the world with that confidence.

The African nation had been using labs in Doha and South Africa in the past.

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Friday 03, Mar 2017

Team Sky Has No Record Of Medication Of Cyclists

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A scathing attack was launched on British Cycling, Team Sky, and their doctor Richard Freeman by UK Anti-Doping boss Nicole Sapstead for failing to keep proper records of drugs given to riders in their care.

Sapstead made an appearance before the Culture, Media and Sport (CMS) select committee that is investigating allegations of wrongdoing in British cycling since September. The committee received information about a package delivered to Team Sky doctor Freeman for star rider Bradley Wiggins at the end of the Criterium du Dauphine race in June 2011. Sapstead remarked 34 current and former riders and staff members at British Cycling and Team Sky have been interviewed by UK Anti-Doping.

In a shocking revelation, the UK Anti-Doping boss remarked her organization is still unaware whether the legal decongestant Fluimucil was in the package as claimed by Freeman. It is alleged that the packed contained the banned corticosteroid Triamcinolone. Sapstead said we are not able to confirm or refute that it contained Fluimucil and also said we have asked for inventories and medical records and we have not been able to ascertain that because there are no records.

Sapstead said Freeman is unable to produce any evidence that he gave what was an unlicensed product in the UK to Wiggins, as he is obliged to do under correct medical practice as there are simply no records. Sapstead also added that Freeman medical records on a laptop and he was meant, according to Team Sky policy, to upload those records to a dropbox that the other team doctors had access to and also commented but Freeman did not do that and his laptop was stolen in 2014 when he was on holiday in Greece. Sapstead also said Freeman, who was effectively working for both British Cycling and its road racing off-shoot Team Sky, ordered and stored medicines for riders at Manchester headquarters of the governing body and there was no clear separation between which drug was for which outfit.

Freeman was scheduled to appear before the committee but told chairman Damian Collins MP he was too ill to attend.

Sapstead went on to remark that there is simply no record of Fluimucil being ordered by Freeman though there are invoices for Kenalog, a brand name for Triamcinolone. Britain’s most decorated Olympian Bradley Wiggins controversially received therapeutic use exemption (TUE) to use Triamcinolone before his three most important races in 2011, 2012 and 2013, including his 2012 Tour de France victory. The UK Anti-Doping boss also remarked the British Cycling medical store held a significant amount of Kenalog that suggested the drug was being used by more than one rider but access to every rider’s medical files would be required before coming out with a statement.

Sapstead also said he could not “confirm or deny” if Bradley Wiggins was actually given Triamcinolone on the final day of the Dauphine that would have resulted in an anti-doping rule violation because he did not have a TUE to use it in that race because of the missing records of Freeman.

Wiggins had claimed that he required the drug for preventing a flare-up of pollen-related breathing problems that is associated with his history of asthma.

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Wednesday 01, Mar 2017

Phelps Urges Lawmakers To Push For Anti-Doping Reform

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Michael Phelps, the American former competitive swimmer and the most decorated Olympian of all time, has urged U.S. lawmakers to push for a reform of the global anti-doping effort in sport. Phelps also remarked he was never confident he was competing against clean athletes.

The most decorated Olympian, testifying in front of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Finance, also expressed his frustration at the lack of progress in the fight against the use of performance enhancing drugs in sport. Phelps said he does not believe he had stood up at an international competition and the rest of the field has been clean. The US swimmer went on to remark he does not think he had ever felt that and added throughout his career he had thought that some athletes were cheating and those suspicions were confirmed in some cases.

Phelps went on to remark that he was tested 13 times before the Rio Olympics when close to 2,000 athletes in ‘high risk’ sports were not tested even once. The 31-year-old swimming great took home five gold medals at the Rio Games and one silver to bring his total medal count to 28 over the course of four Olympics.

The 31-year-old himself has his own very history with usage of problematic substances. Phelps was photographed with a marijuana pipe in early 2009 and twice arrested for drunk driving. The US swimmer even went to rehab ahead of the Rio Games. In his time at the rehab, Phelps’ self-proclaimed former flame Taylor Lianne Chandler revealed graphic details of their alleged sex life. Plus-sized dominatrix Kim Petro claimed the swimmer gave her a $900 ‘donation’ for her to come to his hotel in February 2013 and allegedly engage in explicit acts while Phelps was wearing ‘skimpy women’s underwear.’

Phelps was joined at the hearing by Adam Nelson, Athens Summer Games shot put gold medalist. Nelson waited for nine years before he received the gold medal after Yuri Belonog of Ukraine was stripped of his gold following a failed drugs test. Nelson delivered an emotional account and said the medal came with a side of fries and a free toy and added the color and timing of a medal matter. Nelson said silver does not hold the same value and gold loses its shine over time.

U.S. Anti-Doping Agency chief executive Travis Tygart remarked at the hearing that the International Olympic Committee has been extremely soft on cheaters. Tygart said it was wrong on part of the IOC to ignore calls to ban Russia from the Rio Olympics and instead leave it on individual sport governing bodies to determine if Russian athletes should be allowed to compete in the Rio Summer Games of last year. Tygart also remarked at least two Olympic Games were corrupted and at the Rio Games this past August scores of Russian athletes were allowed to compete without credible anti-doping measures.

The USADA chief also said he IOC chose to welcome the Russian Olympic Committee to Rio when the moment came, despite mountains of evidence and vocal opposition from anti-doping leaders and clean athletes from around the world.

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