Wheelchair Tennis Player Suspended By UK Anti-Doping

Wheelchair tennis player Anthony Carter of Great Britain has been suspended by the UK Anti-Doping for an anti-doping violation.

The 24-year-old Carter competed in the National Wheelchair Tennis Championships on 27 May 2012 and provided a urine sample for Doping Control purposes. This sample was submitted for analysis to the Drug Control Centre, Anti-Doping Science Centre, Harlow, a World Anti-Doping Agency (“WADA”) accredited laboratory and it revealed the presence of 11-nor-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol-9-carboxylic acid (cannabis) (the “Prohibited Substance”), which is included in the WADA 2012 Prohibited List (the “Prohibited List”) (Section S8).

On 6 July 2012, the UK Anti-Doping issued a notice of charge letter to the wheelchair tennis player and decided to suspend him for a period of three months, effective 13 July 2012. Carter, in the meanwhile, decided to take a voluntary provisional suspension at this time and waived a ‘B’ Sample test after admitting to the charge.

Carter also admitted the commission of an Anti-Doping Rule Violation pursuant to Article C.1 of the Anti-Doping Rules. Carter said he suffered a serious accident in 2008 that resulted in lower limb paralysis and he used cannabis to assist with the alleviation of pain. His explanation was accepted by the UK Anti-Doping and there is therefore no dispute as between UK Anti-Doping and the Athlete as to the means of entry of cannabis into the Athlete’s system. It was asserted by Carter that he did not ingest cannabis with a view to enhancing his performance and the anti-doping agency doesn’t believe that cannabis is a substance that is capable of enhancing sporting performance in the sport of wheelchair tennis.

Carter was permanently confined to a wheelchair after he suffered spinal cord injuries in February 2008, resulting in him being paralyzed from the mid thoracic region of his spine down. The injury left him with no movement or sensation in the lower region of his body.

The British wheelchair tennis champion was assisted by the Woodley and Earley Lions Club that stepped in to help Carter purchase a standing wheelchair that means the art and design student can start claiming back his independence. Carter won the National Wheelchair Tennis Tournament Singles (Novice Division) in 2009 and the Doubles of the Belfast Open Wheelchair Tennis Tournament in September 2009. A COUGAR Powered Assisted Handcycle was given to Anthony Carter by Disability charity, Action For Kids, which provided almost £3,500 for the Handcycle. The equipment was provided on a permanent loan scheme and Action for Kids covers the cost of maintaining and servicing wheelchairs. Sally Bishop, Founder of Action For Kids, said the charity is pleased to help support young people such as Anthony and the new handcycle will offer him fantastic physical and emotional benefits.

Anthony Carter was ranked 464 in the world for wheelchair tennis by the International Tennis Federation, and is not part of the LTA wheelchair tennis Performance Team and received no anti-doping education and has never been previously tested and was not aware of the fact that cannabis was a prohibited substance within sport.

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