Athletics Australia President Slams Uneven Treatment

The President of Athletics Australia has questioned the concept of different punishments within the world sport for failure to be present for doping tests. David Grace made this remark after it was announced that Anthony Alozie, a member of the Australian men’s sprint relay squad, has incurred a sanction for 20 months for missing a drug test and breaching the “whereabouts” rule.

Alozie, the 27-year-old Nigerian-born sprinter, participated at the 2011 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships in Daegu. Alozie competed with Matt Davies, who was banned for a period of two years in December after he tested positive for a banned stimulant, and Josh Ross, recently lost a challenge in the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Alozie, Davies, and Ross raced in the same team at the 2009 IAAF World Championships in Berlin.

Athletics Australia confirmed that the 27-year-old Alozie received an infraction notice by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority for two failures over the filing of his whereabouts while the other breach was for missing a drug test. Grace remarked that negligence or carelessness is not the same as being a drug cheat. Last year, Australian Football League side Western Bulldogs received a small fine after it failed to properly lodge whereabouts documents for their players while no individual player was banned.

Athletics Australia President said this case again highlights the uneven treatment under the AFL drug code and what allowed the Western Bulldogs to be fined rather than players being suspended and added we could not waive the requirements even if we wanted to and it is our obligation under the ASADA that our athletes are compliant and we have no leeway. Grace also remarked they have been drug tested umpteen times each one of them, but in between each one of those tests they have missed a drug test or missed a whereabouts listing and added there is nothing to suggest that Ross, the third-fastest Australian on record with a 100 meters best of 10.08sec, or Alozie are drug cheats.

Under present rules, athletes are required to advise their National Federations of one hour every day they will be in a specific location so they can be tested. An athlete, failing to lodge his or her whereabouts properly or missing at the specific location, constitutes a breach and three whereabouts breaches or missed drug tests in a period of 18 months are treated the same as having returned a positive result, which means that the athlete can be banned for a period between 12 months and two years.

In one of the high-profile cases, Britain’s 400m runner Christine Ohuruogu in 2006 was suspended for failing to be present for doping testers on three occasions but returned the next year in Osaka to win the first of her two world titles.

Last year, Jarrod Bannister was banned for missed drug tests. The javelin thrower missed three drug tests, despite one of the three missed tests occurring when the hotel Bannister was staying in under an Athletics Australia group booking did not know the athlete was still staying there.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: Athletics Australia President Slams Uneven Treatment