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Archive for  October 2017

Tuesday 31, Oct 2017

Mo Farah Splits From Salazar

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Renowned Olympian Mo Farah has finally decided to part ways with disgraced coach Alberto Salazar. The athlete however denied the role of doping allegations for this decision.

Salazar has been coaching the four-time Olympic champion at the Nike Oregon Project for the last six years. Farah has also been crowned world champion six times during this period. Farah, who will now be with Paula Radcliffe’s husband and former coach Gary Lough, said he missed his family and that is the only reason for the decision. The family of Farah is moving back to London. The long-distance runner said we want the kids to grow up in the United Kingdom. Farah also said it would therefore not be possible for him to continue his association with both Nike Oregon Project and Alberto that are based in the USA.

Farah specifically mentioned that he is not leaving the Nike Oregon Project and Alberto Salazar because of the doping allegations. Farah went on to add that he would have made a quicker decision if the doping allegations had to play any role. The Olympian added he has always been a firm believer in clean sport. Farah said he strongly believes that anyone who breaks the rules should be punished.

Salazar has been accused of being involved in using illegal doping methods. The coach was once accused of administering Testosterone gels and other banned substances to athletes. However, Farah has never been accused of any doping offences.

Alberto Salazar, chief coach at the Nike Oregon Project (NOP), recently denied reading all of the leaked US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) report. The report alleged that Dr. Jeffrey Brown, who has worked with numerous NOP athletes, provided infusions of L-carnitine (a legal substance) over the legal limit of 50 ml in a period of six hours to Galen Rupp. The report also made claims about the use and misuse of prescription drugs by Salazar.

Galen Rupp, one of the most trustworthy athletes under Salazar, recently created history by winning the 2017 Chicago Marathon. Rupp became the first American to win the event in 15 years in 2:09:20. The Track & Field News magazine had recognized Rupp in 2014 as world’s top athlete in the 10,000 meters for 2014. The best American distance runner of his generation however has been stalked by suspicion of doping. The two-time Olympic medalist has consistently been one of the most tested athletes by United States Anti-Doping Agency. Rupp added the win-at-all-costs reputation of Salazar is incorrect. The athlete said the Oregon Project has always embraced science, but it is always within the WADA Code. Rupp and Salazar have been just as much athlete-coach, prodigy-mentor, and son-to-father. Both Rupp and Salazar have ever been charged with an anti-doping violation.

The disgraced coach has vehemently denied all allegations and went on to remark that the Oregon Project will never permit doping. Salazar also remarked all Oregon Project athletes are required to comply with the World Anti-Doping Agency Code and rules of the International Association of Athletics Federations.

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Thursday 26, Oct 2017

British Government Rules Out Criminalization Of Doping In Sport

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British sports minister Tracey Crouch has said drug cheats in British sport will not be jailed.

The UK government was prompted to review anti-doping rules after recent scandals. Italy, France, and Australia are among some of the countries that have already criminalized doping. A big majority of anti-doping agencies worldwide do not want doping to be criminalized as they are of the view that getting convictions will be difficult and sporting sanctions are more relevant.

Crouch said an extensive review found that criminalizing doping could make it tougher to investigate. The British sports minister added we looked into this very carefully, and conducted an extensive review into the issue around criminalization and we actually genuinely believe that the system we have here in the United Kingdom is one of the most robust systems in the world. Crouch also commented that we feel that the idea of criminalization would change the burden of proof, would make it actually harder to investigate these incidents and that actually you could end up with a lesser punishment if you went through the criminal procedures. The sports minister also remarked that we genuinely think that the system we have in place is the right one.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), UK Anti-Doping (UKAD), and others have warned against criminalization. It has been argued that countries that have made it an offence have struggled to prosecute under the ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ standard of proof as sport uses the ‘balance of probabilities’ standard in anti-doping cases.

However, Crouch argued that UK Anti-Doping should get more powers to tackle cheats and their enablers. The sports minister was also persuaded by UK Anti-Doping of the need for a review of therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs). Therapeutic use exemptions have been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons ever since Fancy Bears, the Russian hacking group, stole medical data from WADA and revealed the use of banned substances for “medicinal purposes”, unlike others who are not permitted to use these drugs.

The sports minister condemned Greg Clarke, the Football Association Chairman, who recently made comments about gay athletes. Former basketball star John Amaechi, one of Britain’s most high-profile gay athletes, recently disclosed that Clarke paid a visit to his office in March to discuss how the FA could persuade gay male players to come out while still in the game.

Amaechi, now a leading psychologist, communicated to Clarke that this was the wrong strategy. The former basketball star also said the Football Association is required to do much more to promote diversity and equality throughout the organization. In reply, Clarke remarked he would get Amaechi sacked and the British government would never intervene. Crouch agreed to the point of Amaechi about FA inaction on homophobia and remarked she has been asking the Football Association “to do more” for some time. The sports minister said anybody involved in football should feel confident enough to be able to come out. Crouch also commented that she thinks the entire Mark Sampson (who made racist remarks to players Eniola Aluko and Drew Spence) affair and other events have really tarnished what it is the FA was trying to achieve.

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Tuesday 24, Oct 2017

WADA To Investigate Claims Of Systematic Doping In China

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Intelligence Unit of the World Anti-Doping Agency would investigate claims that more than 10,000 Chinese athletes used banned substances.

Former Olympic team doctor Xue Yinxian made the claims and alleged that her comments were associated with athletes in the 1980s and 1990s. Yinxian claimed her services were terminated after she refused to provide a banned substance to a gymnast. The whistleblower added athletes as young as 11 were given performance enhancing drugs. She went on to add that China’s medals in major tournaments during that period were won through the use of banned substances. Yinxian went on to add that doping in China existed in a wide range of sports including swimming, volleyball, basketball, table tennis, diving, football, athletics, gymnastics, and weightlifting.

In a program on German channel ARD, Yinxian called for all medals awarded to athletes of the nation during that period to be withdrawn. The whistleblower, now seeking political asylum in Germany, said people in China only believed in doping. She also commented that anyone who took doping substances was seen to be defending the honor of the country and anyone against doping damaged the country and anyone who endangered the country now sits in prison. The former Olympic team doctor said anti-doping tests were conducted in China for the only purpose to ensure athletes of the country traveled to competitions without being caught.  The 79-year-old also made similar allegations in 2012.

In a statement, WADA said there would be lots of difficulties prosecuting cases that happened decades ago. In 2003, the WADA Code was introduced and the statute of limitations for prosecuting code violations is 10 years. However, it added that the World Anti-Doping Agency will ensure that, if action is warranted and feasible under the World Anti-Doping Code, the necessary and appropriate steps will be taken. The agency said it as a first step has asked its independent Intelligence and Investigations (I&I) team to initiate an investigative process in order to collect and analyze available information in coordination with external partners.

Last year, it was reported by Chinese state media that all those runners trained under Ma Junren – better known as “Ma’s Army” – were forced to take large doses of illegal drugs over the years. Wang Junxia, one of the most prominent of those runners, once detailed the regime of state-sponsored doping in a letter. In a letter reportedly signed by nine of Wang’s teammates, the Chinese former long-distance runner had written that Junren forced us to take a large dose of illegal drugs. In 1997, Wang retired from the sport having never failed a drugs test. She was honored with a place in the IAAF Hall of Fame for her achievements in 1993. A probe into the claims was confirmed by the International Association of Athletics Federations. The IAAF confirmed any admission of guilt could see Wang’s world records scrapped if legitimacy of the letter is proven.

Chen Zhanghao, the chief physician to the Chinese national teams, had admitted in 2012 that doping took place in China.

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Tuesday 17, Oct 2017

Weightlifter Provisionally Suspended For Doping Offence

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The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) has suspended Olympian Mohd Hafifi Mansor for an alleged doping offence.

In a statement, the IWF said the sample of Mansor had an Adverse Analytical Finding for Oxymetholone. Hafifi could face a possible doping ban of four years as Oxymetholone is classified as a performance enhancing substance that promotes muscle growth.

Also known as Anadrol, Oxymetholone is a synthetic, orally active anabolic-androgenic steroid (AAS) and 17a-methylated derivative of Dihydrotestosterone (DHT). The anabolic-androgenic steroid is known to increase the levels of the hormone (erythropoietin) that is involved in the production of red blood cells. Anadrol is classified under the S1 (anabolic agents) by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

IWF posted on its official website it will not make any further comments on the case until it is closed. The suspension was confirmed by Malaysian Anti-Doping Agency (ADAMAS) deputy director S Nishel Kumar. Nishel remarked it is too early to comment on the matter and added we will communicate with the Malaysian Weightlifting Federation (MWF). The Malaysian Anti-Doping Agency deputy director also commented that we were asked to determine if the athlete concerned accepted the result or wish to challenge it.

Kumar raised questions over the delayed results of the doping test. The ADAMAS deputy director said we don’t understand is why it has taken seven months for the result to be made known and added it usually only takes a month, so we too are wondering what has caused the delay.

Mansor, the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games gold medalist, was considered as a gold medal hope for Malaysia at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Hafifi also won the Australian Open in Melbourne in March and the sample of the positive test is believed to have been taken during the latter event.

MWF acting secretary Abu Hanapah Ismail said the cost involved in having the B sample of Hafifi tested can run up to tens of thousands of ringgit. Ismail added we are also working out how the B sample test will be paid for, either from the associations’ pocket or by other means. The MWF acting secretary said the samples were tested in Delhi previously and commented it could cost more than usual, as the test had initially been conducted in Australia.  The acting secretary of the Malaysian Weightlifting Federation also remarked it is a bit disappointing as Hafifi had gone on to win the gold medal at the Commonwealth Championships recently that also serves as a qualifier for the Commonwealth Games.

The 26-year-old weightlifter may decide to be present at the opening of the B sample bottle at the laboratory in Sydney, Australia at his expense, according to ADAMAS director Datuk Dr Ramlan Abdul Aziz. The ADAMAS director also remarked he cannot comment much on the ongoing case as the matter is with IWF and MWF.

In May 2014, track cyclist Muhammad Shah Firdaus Sahrom had tested positive for Dexamethasone at the Perlis Malaysia Games. However, the result of the failed test was only made known in February 2015 because of a miscommunication between the test lab and ADAMAS.

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Friday 13, Oct 2017

British Javelin Thrower Suspended For Failed Doping Test

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Joanna Blair, who represented Britain in the European Athletics Team Championships this summer in Lille, has been suspended after she failed to clear an anti-doping test.

The 31-year-old javelin thrower from Lutton was believed to be in the contention for the England team for the Commonwealth Games in Australia next year.

In a statement, UK Athletics said Joanna Blair had been provisionally suspended from participating in athletics. This was after Blair was charged with having committed an anti-doping rule violation contrary to IAAF Anti-Doping Rule Article 2.1 (presence of a prohibited substance or its metabolites or markers in an athlete’s sample). The statement further reads that the javelin thrower has the opportunity to respond to the charge against her including the right to a full hearing of the case.

The 31-year-old confirmed the positive test and remarked the failed test was a result of a creatine product she had been using “for a number of years”. Blair blamed contamination of the supplement and added she checked the ingredients of the supplement before using it. Blair added she is cooperating fully with both UK Athletics and UK Anti-Doping to resolve things at the earliest.

Blair had finished second in the UK trials in July and her selection would have marked the pinnacle of her career. Blair had managed to improve her fitness under her coach Dave Burrell at Luton Athletics Club. She went on to set a near three-meter personal best of 57.44m at the British Athletics Championships that gave her a first national title ahead of the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Goldie Sayers and placed her seventh on the British all-time list.

The impressive form of Blair earned her selection for the Nitro Athletics tournament in Australia this year. The javelin thrower was however unlucky to miss out on selection for the 2017 world championships in London after she failed to reach the qualifying mark.

Few years back, Commonwealth Games javelin champion Jarrod Bannister was banned for 20 months after he missed three doping tests. Bannister, who won the gold medal at New Delhi in 2010 and occupied the sixth position in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, missed three tests within a period of 18 months. The javelin thrower had then blamed poor communication with Athletics Australia as a factor behind the circumstances that saw him, unintentionally, breach the ‘Athlete Whereabouts’ program.

Athletics Australia chief executive Dallas O’Brien had then remarked that we are disappointed that Jarrod did not meet his obligations as one of our top performing athletes and this case demonstrates the need for all athletes to be diligent and responsible. Bannister was given a slightly reduced ban by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. This was after he was charged under article 6.4 of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency’s policy concerning his availability for out-of-competition testing. The Australian track and field athlete who competes in the javelin throw remarked he had relied on verbal rather than written correspondence with Athletics Australia. The finding handed down by arbitrator Alan Sullivan called on the Athletics Australia, Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, and the World Anti-Doping Agency to review their operations and procedures.

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