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Monday 16, Jan 2017

  Doping Cases Of Three Weightlifters To Be Probed By COC

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The Chinese Olympic Committee (COC) reiterated its zero tolerance to doping and vowed to investigate the cases of three Chinese weightlifters after they were stripped of gold medals won during 2008 Olympic Games.

On Thursday, it was announced by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that three female Chinese Olympic weightlifting gold medalists Cao Lei (75 kilograms), Chen Xiexia (48 kilograms) and Liu Chunhong (69 kilograms) were among five other athletes who competed at 2008 and 2012 Summer Games. The three Olympic weightlifters all tested positive for prohibited substance Growth hormone-releasing peptide 2 and metabolite (GHRP-2 M2) after re-analysis of their samples from Beijing 2008. Liu also tested positive for Sibutramine. The disqualification leaves China facing a potential ban on weightlifting from international competitions for a period of one year.

A Chinese anti-doping expert said production of growth hormones is stimulated by the drug taken by the athletes. The expert added Sibutramine was possibly used as a masking agent. The Chinese anti-doping expert went on to criticize several Western media that accused the country of state-sponsored doping. The expert remarked they are just analyzing cases with “double standard.” He said there are also many athletes from Western countries who were found using prohibited substances in recent years, but the global media usually tries to paint their indiscretions as personal mistake but the issue becomes ‘nationally organized behavior’ when it comes to countries like China, which is a double standard.

In a statement published on its official website, the Chinese Olympic Committee said it condemns the three athletes who violated the spirit of sportsmanship and Olympics for doping. It further said that the Chinese Olympic Committee respects the decisions made by the IOC and will investigate the cases with related bodies and added we are in solidarity with the International Olympic Committee to protect clean athletes and fight against doping.

The list of other suspended athletes included Belarus shot-putter Nadzeya Ostapchuk, who was the bronze medalist in Beijing but tested positive for the steroid Turinabol. Turinabol, also called T-bol, is the androgenic anabolic steroid that bagged newspaper headlines after the East German doping scandal became public. This steroid has a positive effect on nitrogen retention and protein synthesis.

Belarusian hammer thrower Darya Pchelnik lost her fourth spot from the 2008 Games. Sibel Simsek of Turkey, Intigam Zairov of Azerbaijan and Armenia’s Norayr Vardanya — three non-medal weightlifters from the 2012 Olympics in London — were also disqualified.

The International Olympic Committee is reanalyzing 1,243 samples from Beijing and London using testing techniques not available at the time.

The results of the new tests will feature during discussions in April this year to map out the program of future summer Olympics. Weightlifting accounts for the most positive tests followed by athletics, wrestling, and cycling. IOC president Thomas Bach recently said that we will have to look at the results in detail, connect each sport with each country and see if it is a problem specific to each country. Bach added then we will study the situation with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

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Friday 26, Aug 2016

  China Face One-Year Ban From Weightlifting

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The International Weightlifting Federation confirmed on Thursday that three failed retests of drug test samples from the 2008 Beijing Olympics will lead to automatic ban on China if the doping allegations are proven and the athletes in question would be disqualified by the International Olympic Committee.

Three Olympic champion weightlifters from China and eight other medalists stand to be stripped of their titles after failing retests of their doping samples from the 2008 Olympics. The International Weightlifting Federation says the 11 tested positive for a range of banned substances and they are all provisionally suspended until the doping cases are resolved.

In a statement on its website, the IWF said Chinese gold medalists Cao Lei, Liu Chunhong, and Chen Xiexia all tested positive for GHRP-2 that stimulates growth hormone production, while Liu also tested positive for the stimulant Sibutramine. In a statement posted on its website, the IWF said, it in line with the relevant rules and regulations imposed mandatory provisional suspensions upon the athletes, who remain provisionally suspended in view of potential anti-doping rule violations until their cases are closed. The statement further reads the IWF following the IOC’s decisions will be in a position to take over the results management of these cases and it was remarked the relevant decision shall also be published should it be determined in any of the cases that no anti-doping violation was committed. It was also commented that the International Weightlifting Federation will not make any further comments on the cases until they are closed.

The other eight medalists include current world record holder Andrei Rybakou of Belarus, who won silver in 2008, all of whom tested positive for various anabolic steroids. The list of other medalists includes Anastasia Novikova of Belarus, Kazakhstan’s Maria Grabovetskaya and Irina Nekrasova, Russia’s Khadzhimurat Akkaev and Dmitry Lapikov, and Ukraine’s Natalya Davydova, and Olha Korobka. The IWF also revealed four other weightlifters from Beijing 20008 who did not win medals were also named as having failed tests and they include Kazakhstan’s Maiya Maneza and Belarus’ Iryna Kulesha, both of whom won medals in 2012 but not 2008 and are already suspended over retests from 2012.

In June and July, a further 10 lifters who competed at the 2008 Olympics, including five medalists, had already been suspended and the silver medal won by Turkey’s Sibel Ozkan in the women’s 48-kilogram class, has already been stripped.

China now faces a ban of one year from weightlifting over repeated doping cases in a move that threatens to stop some of the top athletes of the world from competing internationally. China is the most dominant country of the world in weightlifting having topped the table at every Olympics since 2000. It won seven medals in Rio de Janeiro this month, five of them gold.

The Chinese Weightlifting Association (CWA) expressed shock at the findings of the re-tests and affirming its strict anti-doping credentials. A statement translated from the CWA website reads we will follow the relevant IWF and IOC requirements to actively cooperate with the investigation and it was further said that people found responsible will not be tolerated and will be severely punished in accordance with law if violations are confirmed.

The International Weightlifting Federation also announced Azerbaijan and Ukraine have joined Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan that were already facing one-year bans under earlier announcements.

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Thursday 01, Oct 2015

  WADA Stands Tall Not To Get Bullied By USADA And UKAD

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The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has refused to accept claims by UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) and some of its like-minded foreign counterparts like the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to impose a ban on thyroid medication.

On Tuesday, WADA published its list of substances and methods to be banned in international sport for the forthcoming calendar year. The World Anti-Doping Agency omitted the inclusion of thyroid hormone and Dr. Olivier Rabin, science director for WADA, remarked the expert committee reviewing recommendations to the prohibited list were of the belief that there is no way to believe that thyroid hormone could be performance enhancing. WADA said the drug could not be placed in the category of banned drugs as it does not meet at least two of three criteria: it violates what it calls the “spirit of sport”, it is harmful to an athlete’s health, and it is performance-enhancing.

UKAD and USADA lobbied to have thyroid medication placed on the banned substance list after allegations of therapeutic use exemption abuse by Oregon Project coach Alberto Salazar. This was after the BBC’s Panorama documentary revealed how ethical boundaries are stretched to breaking point within Nike’s Oregon Project. The documentary revealed a drug called Levoxyl to treat an underactive thyroid was prescribed to World 10,000 meters bronze medalist Kara Goucher and then Salazar encouraged Kara to use Cytomel, a stronger drug, which was originally prescribed to Galen Rupp, one of Salazar’s athletes.

According to media reports, five current or former athletes at the secretive training camp of Alberto Salazar have been diagnosed with an underactive thyroid. This health condition affects two per cent of the ordinary population and tends to affect middle-aged women. Liz McColgan, the former world 10,000m champion said it is either a massive coincidence or something else going on. The prominent British coach said he believes the use of Thyroxine, a hormone-replacement medication for treating those with underactive thyroid, is widespread among healthy athletes who want to gain an unfair advantage.

European 10,000m champion Jo Pavey remarked Erythropoietin (EPO) and growth hormone started the same way and they were used to help people who had a genuine problem, but they were exploited by people looking to gain an advantage.

UK Anti-Doping had communicated to WADA that thyroid medications like Thyroxine are performance enhancers, pose a risk to health, and are against the ‘spirit of sport’. According to the policy of UK Athletics on Thyroxine replacement medicine, the use of a Thyroxine replacement medicine is acceptable by an athlete if there is an existing thyroid condition and a doctor’s exemption form is provided. However, the use of a Thyroxine replacement medicine does not come under the category of exemption if an athlete is using it to help recovery or performance. In a recent statement, UK Athletics said British Athletics always apply the highest standards to medical practice and added that Thyroxine is only ever prescribed when treating hypothyroidism and we have worked closely with the EIS, UK Anti-Doping, and the British Thyroid Association to ensure good clinical governance.

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Saturday 14, Jun 2014

  Study Suggests Lance Armstrong Failed Social Media

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Study Suggests Lance Armstrong Failed Social Media

Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong made use of Twitter for employing image-repair strategies in a way that cultivated followers and countered media reports but neglected to enact any image-repair tweets, according to researchers.

It was revealed by researchers that Armstrong made the mistake of not using image-repair tweets after he admitted to using banned performance enhancing drugs in an interview with Oprah Winfrey.

It was disclosed by Clemson University communication studies assistant professor Jimmy Sanderson that traditional media such as newspapers and television have remained a staple of image repair but athletes now have additional revenue with the rise of social media. The research suggested that athletes should now be prepared with strategies to help navigate traditional and social media platforms for presenting consistent messages in multiple settings and contexts.

The image-repairing strategies of Lance Armstrong during 2012 and early 2013 were explored by Sanderson and co-authors Marion E. Hambrick and Evan L. Frederick. This was the period when the cyclist was facing a doping investigation by the U.S. government. Sanderson remarked it is an important direction to explore how Armstrong managed image repair via traditional media and digital media given the cyclist’s global recognition. Sanderson added understanding how these efforts intersect and diverge yield important insights for image repair, particularly for athletes. For evaluation purposes, 859 tweets of Lance Armstrong from 2012 to early 2013 were analyzed by the researchers along with his comments made during the much-publicized Oprah Winfrey interview where he admitted to using banned drugs, including Testosterone and Growth hormone.

It was indicated by the results that the now-banned cyclist made use of strategies, including attacks on accusers, stonewalling, and bolstering and then demonstrated contrition by employing mortification, simple denial, provocation, shifting blame, and victimization besides conforming and retrospective regret. Hambrick, of the University of Louisville, remarked digital and social media also afford them the capability to introduce alternative narratives and redirect audiences with respect to athletes, when image repair becomes necessary. Hambrick added athletes now have the opportunity to promote their charitable endeavors and diligence during workouts and practices, which may shift the public’s attention away from the situation that prompted image repair.

Armstrong, the winner of seven consecutive Tour de France titles, used Twitter for employing image-repair strategies to cultivate followers and countered media reports but failed to enact any image-repair tweets following his admission to using drugs in the Winfrey interview. The cyclist received a life ban from the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) after he was found guilty of using and encouraging the use of banned drugs within his team.

Frederick, of the University of New Mexico, said Lance Armstrong could have maintained both an assertive and remorseful position that likely would have removed doubt and skepticism among his fans and the public at large given the immense public outpouring and the ability to navigate between identity positions using Twitter. Frederick added Armstrong instead minimized the effectiveness of future messages delivered via Twitter, as skeptical followers may view his tweets as little more than propaganda rather than insightful information and commentary.

The findings of the study were published in journal Communication & Sport

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Tuesday 09, Jul 2013

  Riis Aware Of Doping, Says Rasmussen

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Riis Aware Of Doping, Says Rasmussen

Anti-doping authorities have been told by Danish cyclist Michael Rasmussen that Saxo-Tinkoff manager Bjarne Riis knew about widespread doping in his team. The cyclist remarked Riis had full knowledge of the widespread use of doping substances in his cycling team and cited several sources with knowledge of the matter.

The news came as the Saxo-Tinkoff team owner left the Tour de France and denied his exist was linked to a probe by Denmark authorities into the use of doping by cyclists.

Danish newspaper Politiken wrote on its website that it was unlikely Riis would ever face disciplinary action though US cyclist Tyler Hamilton and Joerg Jaksche of Germany have both told Anti-Doping Denmark that Riis knew about the doping practices. Riis won the 1996 Tour de France but admitted that he used erythropoietin to win. Despite his doping admission, his win has not been officially erased from the race’s record books.

Jens Evald, a law professor at Aarhus University, remarked the contents of the testimonies are very interesting, but they are all eight years or more back in time, and the statute of limitations is just eight years.

Rasmussen, the cyclist who was kicked out of the 2007 Tour de France when he was wearing the race leader’s yellow jersey, had admitted on 31 January 2013, of using EPO, growth hormone, testosterone, DHEA, insulin, IGF-1, cortisone, and blood transfusions in the period 1998-2010. At that time, team manager Claus Hembo said we will welcome him back when his sanction is served, but then as a sports director with Christina Watches – Onfone powered by DANA. Hembo added this will be done for a man with a cleaned conscience, and as a man who strongly dissociates himself from doping, and who will forever obligate himself to be of service to the authorities in the front line of the battle against doping. After this, his attempt to increase the €700,000 euro damages awarded to him in 2008 backfired after he lost in his claim for €5 million.

Rasmussen’s most notable victories include four stages of the Tour de France, one stage of the Vuelta a España and a win on the Italian classic Giro dell’Emilia in 2002 besides winning the best climber classification in the 2005 and 2006 Tour de France. Michael Rasmussen is known for peeling off unnecessary stickers from his bike. The Danish cyclist started his career as a mountain biker, and he won the Mountain Bike World Championships in 1999 before becoming a stagiaire with the professional cycling team CSC-Tiscali in 2001. In 2002, he secured a one-year contract and switched from CSC-Tiscali to Rabobank in 2003 following a string of good results in August and September. The Danish cyclist was accused by mountain bike racer Whitney Richards of trying to get him to transport a box in early 2002 on the pretext that it contained his favorite cycling shoes though the box contained packets of Hemopure, a bovine-hemoglobin-based blood substitute that might potentially have been used in a doping program.

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Wednesday 08, May 2013

  Doping Case Against Vijay Singh Dropped

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Doping Case Against Vijay Singh Dropped

The PGA Tour has dropped its doping case against Vijay Singh based on new information from the World Anti-Doping Agency that said using deer antler spray is no longer prohibited as it contains such small amounts of a growth hormone factor.

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said the bottom line is that given the change by WADA, we are dropping the case against Vijay Singh. Finchem added that the appeal of Singh against the sanctions imposed against him was almost over when WADA, which had warned about the spray in February, told the tour it no longer considers the use of deer antler spray to be prohibited except for a positive test result.

The Tour received a written statement from WADA that indicated the spray is known to contain small amounts of IGF-1. Reading from a statement, Finchem said the tour deemed it only fair to no longer treat Singh’s use of deer antler spray as a violation of the tour’s anti-doping program based on this new information, and given WADA’s lead role in interpreting the prohibited list.

In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Singh said he paid $9,000 last November for deer antler spray, hologram chips, and other products from Sports With Alternatives To Steroids. The deer antler spray was said to contain IGF-1, an insulin-like growth hormone that is on the list of banned substances under the tour’s anti-doping policy. The PGA Tour said the golfer provided a sample of the spray, and tests at a UCLA laboratory confirmed the presence of IGF-1. The golfer was penalized on February 19 – Tuesday of the Match Play Championship, for which the 50-year-old Fijian was not eligible – and Singh appealed a week later.

WADA provided a written statement after the tour contacted it to confirm technical points when the agency clarified its position and said we are talking about a determination that was made by scientists at WADA that relate to the consumption, through deer antler spray, of a technically violative substance, IGF-1 and the scientists looking at it concluded it resulted in infinitesimal amounts actually being taken into the recipient’s body, amounts that couldn’t be distinguished even if you had an accurate test with the amount that you might take into your body from milk, etc. Finchem added that a player taking enough IGF-1 to register a positive result is not possible because a positive reading means that you’re surpassing a certain level and there hasn’t been any level ever set.

Finchem went on to add that the fact of the matter here is – as some people in the medical community pointed out when this matter came up, and now science at WADA has looked into it and concluded on their own – it’s just not worth having it on the list in that context; he also added that he don’t know of a substance or a transfer mechanism out there that can loan a person to IGF levels that would get the attention of the WADA science people and clearly, this isn’t one and they’ve made that clear to us.

The PGA Tour commissioner said he doesn’t think you can move ahead with a prosecution on a player given this set of facts and that’s our conclusion. He also remarked Vijay wasn’t assessed this action because he was negligent and he wasn’t assessed it because he made a mistake. Vijay was assessed because he violated the doping code, and the doping code is predicated on a list of substances, Finchem remarked and added that we’re now finding from WADA that that substance doesn’t trigger a positive test to admission, so we have to respect that.

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Thursday 21, Feb 2013

  Disgraced Former US Cyclist Paid $40,000 A Year For Doping

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Disgraced Former US Cyclist Paid $40,000 A Year For Doping

Tyler Hamilton told a Spanish court on Tuesday that he paid tens of thousands of euros (dollars) a year to Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes and bought the blood booster EPO, testosterone, growth hormone, and insulin off Fuentes.

The disgraced cyclist told the court that he used blood doping some 15 times and was associated with the doctor at the heart of the Operation Puerto scandal for blood doping and other drug supply services to boost his performance in competitions.

Fuentes, his sister and fellow doctor, Yolanda, Manolo Saiz, a former ONCE and Liberty Seguros team sports director, and Vicente Belda and Ignacio Labarta, both associated with the former Kelme team, are on trial in a Madrid court for endangering public health.

The former teammate of banned cyclist Lance Armstrong, Hamilton said he paid between 25,000 and 30,000 for the services in 2002 and 2003. Hamilton also said he agreed to pay 50,000 ($US67,000) for 2004, but was not able to complete the treatment as he tested positive for receiving someone else’s blood in September 2004. The cyclist was stripped of his gold medal from the 2004 Athens Olympics last year after confessing to doping.

Meanwhile, the judge announced that Alberto Contador, the two-time winner of Tour de France and one of 50 cyclists implicated in the Puerto investigation, would not be required to appear in court. The attorney for defendant Saiz, Ignacio Arroyo, said at the end of hearing on Tuesday that he renounced the witness statement he had requested from Contador. The judge then ruled that the rider’s presence would no longer be necessary because Arroyo had been the only trial participant to request testimony from Contador.

A former professional rider for the US Postal and CSC team, Tyler Hamilton, among others, said he first met the Spanish doctor at a rest area “on the highway between Barcelona and Valencia” in Spain “to fix up blood transfusions” and “to plan for the future.”

Hamilton told the court the worst reaction he had was in 2004 when he had a reinfusion during the Tour de France and as far as he could tell the blood hadn’t been stored properly and said he knew something was not working out as it should when he went to the bathroom 35-40 minutes later and found his urine was black. On 11 September, 2004, Hamilton while riding in Spain’s Vuelta, tested positive for “mixed blood cell population,” or receiving someone else’s blood. The cyclist, under cross-examination, also remarked that he had heard that another rider in his team, Santiago Perez, had also tested positive for the same reason. Tyler Hamilton said he knew Perez and other riders also used the blood doping services of Fuentes as they had flown together from Lyon in France to Madrid, during the Dauphine Libere race, to get infused. Hamilton, when asked who had put him in contact with Fuentes, said that one-time Tour de France and Giro d’Italia winner “Bjarne Riis, general manager of team CSC, put me in touch with him.”

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Monday 11, Feb 2013

  Australia Battles Doping Fallout

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Australia Battles Doping Fallout

On Friday, doping agencies urged Australian cheats to come out clean as concerns mounted after a probe pointed to widespread drug use in professional sport.

The damning Australian Crime Commission inquiry revealed that the use of prohibited substances including peptides, hormones, and illicit drugs was common across multiple sporting codes. In the ACC report, it was disclosed that criminal groups were involved in the distribution of banned drugs, including growth hormone stimulating substances called peptides and added that players were not always aware of what they were taking.

The report also revealed that the Australian Crime Commission has identified specific high-performance staff, sports scientists and coaches within some codes who have condoned and/or orchestrated the administration of prohibited substances, and substances not yet approved for human consumption, to players and peptides and other substances in some cases were administered to players without them understanding the nature of the substances, and without the knowledge of the team doctor or club medical staff. The crime commission report did not name specific players, teams or codes because of legal reasons.

After the report was made public, major rugby league sponsor Telstra hinted that it would reconsider its support and remarked it would look closely into the report, which also found links to organized crime.

Andy Parkinson, the chief executive of UK Anti-Doping, has warned the United Kingdom is “vulnerable to exactly the kind of threats” highlighted in an astonishing report into widespread drug use and match-fixing in Australian sport. The UKAD Chief said there should be no complacency in the UK over the battle against such issues and added that the report reinforces a number of disturbing facts.

Meanwhile, the head of New Zealand’s Olympic team has dismissed suggestions of a doping problem in the country and said he had never heard nothing or seen anything that would even remotely suggest that there’s any sort of systematic doping program in New Zealand. Waddell added there was a potential for mistakes where sports supplements were involved and strongly advised athletes to be “almost paranoid about what goes down your throat”. New Zealand sport has an international reputation for integrity and ethics and the vast majority of New Zealand athletes compete cleanly, the New Zealand Olympic Committee said in a statement.

In a statement, Netball Australia, in conjunction with the ANZ Championship transtasman competition, said they were not immune and needed to remain vigilant in the fight against drugs, match fixing, and links to organized crime. The statement said the organization will now take steps to work with lead sporting and anti-doping bodies in New Zealand to assess the implications of the Australian report and take any additional steps for ensuring the protection of athletes and prevention of cheating and added the New Zealand Olympic Committee will also continue to coordinate its efforts with Drug Free Sport New Zealand for increasingly targeted and evidence-based anti-doping measures through the review of the World Anti-Doping Agency code currently underway.

World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) president John Fahey said he was not surprised to learn of the contents of the report of the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) and called for a global organization dedicated to fighting drugs and corruption in sport.

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Monday 05, Nov 2012

  UCI Sued By Sponsor For £1.25m

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UCI Sued By Sponsor For £1.25m

Australian clothing firm SKINS has threatened to sue the governing body of cycling, UCI, for its failure to crack down on doping and run a clean sport.

The Australian company’s Swiss lawyers wrote to UCI saying the company had been involved in professional cycling since 2008 in the belief that the sport had cleaned up its act after the 1998 Tour de France that was hit by scandals. In a statement issued through its lawyers, the company said it concluded that it must revise that view. The statement reads SKINS, as a supplier and sponsor, is particularly concerned with its brand image and is firmly against doping as it strongly believes in the true spirit of competition.

The company said it had acted accordingly after the Lance Armstrong scandal, which saw the Texan stripped of his seven Tour de France titles after a USADA investigation into alleged systematic doping. It was indicated by the firm that the manner in which the governing body of cycling dealt with the case of the disgraced cyclist and its fight against doping in general is the primary reason for the total loss of confidence in professional cycling by the public and added that this loss of credibility and confidence for cycling “harms SKINS, as well as any other sponsor or supplier.”

The company sponsors Cycling Australia, USA Cycling, the Rabobank, Europcar and Telekom teams and BikeNZ in New Zealand, among others.

Meanwhile, a giant effigy of Lance Armstrong went up in flames recently as part of one of the biggest bonfire parties in the UK. The cyclist, accused by the USADA of using and promoting the use of performance enhancing drugs, was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life, pipped the likes of Jimmy Savile and Chancellor George Osborne after suggestions from members of the public. The effigy came complete with a ‘Jim Fixed It For Me’ medallion and a sign which read ‘For sale, Racing bike no longer required’.

In another development, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has applauded the USADA for its case against the disgraced cyclist who was accused by some of his former teammates of using and encouraging the use of performance enhancing drugs within the USPS team. WADA recently said that it would not appeal against the sanctions imposed by the USADA on Armstrong and said WADA has no concerns as to the complete process and the overwhelming weight of evidence against the cyclist. USADA accused the Texan rider of spearheading “the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen”.

The seven-time champion of Tour de France was accused by teammates including Frankie Andreu, George Hincapie, Floyd Landis, and Tyler Hamilton of using EPO, growth hormone, and other performance enhancing drugs. The veteran American cyclist who raced alongside Lance Armstrong during all of his seven Tour de France victories, Hincapie, said he made use of banned substances during his professional career and remarked he is looking forward to play a substantial role to develop, encourage, and help young riders to compete and win with the best in the world.

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Friday 07, Sep 2012

  Ban For Queensland Rugby Player

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Ban for Queensland Rugby Player

Decision of the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) to impose a four-year ban on Sunshine Coast Stingrays amateur rugby player and coach, Francis Bourke, for the possession and attempted trafficking of growth hormone releasing peptide-6 (GHRP-6) was recently acknowledged by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA).

The ban slapped on Bourke by the Rugby Union was backdated to the date of his provisional suspension, which means that he cannot participate as an athlete or support person until 25 January 2016 in any sports that have adopted a World Anti-Doping Agency compliant anti-doping policy. Such participation includes, but not limited to management, administration, playing or training as part of a team or squad, coaching, and officiating.

Bourke was found guilty of possession and attempted trafficking of growth hormone releasing peptide-6 (GHRP-6). GHRP-6 is not approved for human use in Australia and the Prohibited List of WADA Code categorizes GHRP-6 under ‘S2: peptide hormones, growth factors and related substances, and prohibited at all times. Breaching the code can invite penalties including a lifetime ban for second offences. The WADA Code has permitted sanctions of four years – even lifetime bans – under Article 10.3.2 since 2009 but this power has only rarely been imposed by WADA’s signatories.

ASADA, as a government body, works closely with the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (Customs and Border Protection) for investigating the trafficking of prohibited drugs, medications and substances.

A package with GHRP-6 was seized at the Sydney Gateway Facility on 28 November 2010 by the Customs and Border Protection and it notified ASADA. The matter was referred to the Australian Rugby Union following an extensive investigation by ASADA as a potential violation of its anti-doping code.

The performance enhancing drug is used by budding and professional sportsmen to stimulate promote muscle, bone, and organ growth. It has the ability to stimulate the pituitary gland for secreting an increased amount of growth hormone following intake besides stimulating the protein, insulin-like growth factor 1 (known as IGF-1).

The World Anti-doping Agency  noted with interest the four-year ban on the player and WADA President John Fahey said the association has been saying for some time now that the Code sanctions are tougher than many people appreciate but they to be appropriately imposed by its signatories to make them effective. The WADA President remarked that the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) has demonstrated that it is realistic to come down hard on a person whose offense is more serious than those which usually result in a sanction of two years.

Fahey added that the ban of four years imposed on the amateur rugby player-coach also indicated that how seriously a member of an entourage, in this case a coach, will be dealt with if he or she is involved in supplying substances to athletes. Mr. Fahey added that this case is a good example of the growing efficacy of intelligence sharing between anti-doping agencies and other law enforcement authorities that have become an important pillar for the anti-doping community. He further said the World Anti-doping Agency would continue to look for ways to improve this aspect of anti-doping.

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