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Archive for  February 2017

Monday 27, Feb 2017

Michael Phelps To Testify Before Congressional Sub-Committee

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Michael Fred Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, will be among five people testifying about anti-doping next week before a Congressional sub-committee.

Phelps will be speaking out on behalf of anti-doping efforts again. Phelps saw fit to comment at the Olympic Games in Rio after his U.S. teammate Lilly King beat out Yulia Efimova of Russia for gold in the women’s 100 breast after Yulia had twice been suspended for doping. Phelps then had remarked that it is sad that today in sports in general, not just only swimming, there are people who are testing positive who are allowed back in the sport, and multiple times. The US swimmer had also commented that he believes sport should be clean and sport should be on an even playing field.

The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations that is a part of part of the Committee on Energy and Commerce will hold a hearing, “Ways to Improve and Strengthen the Anti-Doping System.” The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations is chaired by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.)

The list of others to testify include Richard Budgett, medical and scientific director for the International Olympic Committee; Travis Tygart, CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency; Adam Nelson, American shot putter and Olympic gold medalist; and Rob Koehler, deputy director general of the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Tygart remarked we always welcome the opportunity to highlight the importance of rights of clean athletes to a safe, healthy and fair playing field.

Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) and Ranking Member Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) said in a joint statement that the Olympic Games for centuries have been a source of inspiration and pride, bringing nations and cultures together in the spirit of competition. The statement further reads however in recent years the specter of doping has reemerged, tarnishing the image of the games and raising new questions about the fairness of international sport and added that the hearing this week will mark an important conversation with some key players to examine the international anti-doping system and identify ways we can strengthen it to ensure clean, competitive sport.

The Committee on Energy and Commerce in a letter sent to the IOC in July in advance of the Rio Olympics noted that strides are required to be made for eradicating doping in sport. The letter also noted that “major challenges remain” that include delayed response to allegations by whistleblowers of state-sponsored doping and conflicts of interest in the governance of the World Anti-Doping Agency. The committee wrote the purpose of WADA and the confidence placed in it by clean athletes and their supporters around the world could be seriously undermined if these and other concerns are not effectively addressed.

According to a financial document, the United States government is expected to contribute $2,155,051 to WADA’s annual budget in 2017. The contribution is the most of any individual country, with Japan and Canada as the only other countries to contribute more than $1 million. The International Olympic Committee is expected to match the $14,862,420 provided by governments worldwide.


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Saturday 25, Feb 2017

Doping Suspension On Cyborg Lifted

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Cris ‘Cyborg’ Justino has been cleared to resume her career with the UFC after being cleared of a potential anti-doping violation.

In December, Justino tested positive for a banned substance – diuretic Spironolactone – but the UFC star said the failed drug test was because of a prescribed medication used to combat an endocrine disorder.

A retrospective Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) for the substance was granted to Cyborg by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). The provision suspension imposed on her was also lifted. USADA announced in a statement that the application for a TUE was granted because the athlete had an unequivocally diagnosed chronic medical condition for which the use of Spironolactone is the appropriate standard of care.

In a statement, Justino said she is extremely happy that USADA took the time to carefully review the detailed TUE application that she submitted, and agreed that her use of the prescription has always been medically justified. The Brazilian and American mixed martial artist added she is looking forward to returning to the octagon as soon as possible, and proving that she is the pound-for-pound champion of women’s MMA. The former Strikeforce Women’s Featherweight Champion added she would also like to thank her fans for their continued support, who made a very difficult time easier for her.

The UFC created a 145-pound featherweight division to showcase her. Last year, Justino fought twice in her UFC debut and stopped two opponents at a 140-pound catch weight. Cyborg was expected to compete in the first 145-pound title fight this winter but declined the fight and cited the strain of her previous weight cut to face Lina Landsberg in September.

‘Cyborg’ was expected to challenge for the UFC’s first featherweight title but she could only find a place in the crowd when Germaine de Randamie claimed the belt with a points win over Holly Holm. An appeal was made by Holm to the New York Athletic Commission where she claimed Germaine should have been deducted points by referee Todd Anderson for punches thrown after the bell.

The Dutch kickboxer and mixed martial artist of Afro-Surinamese and Dutch descent has since offered a rematch to Holm although she said she would first have to recover from injuries suffered during the bout of last weekend. De Randamie said she believes if Holly feels that the lack of point deductions are the reasons she lost the fight, and she is looking for a no-contest or a draw, she should simply accept the offer that she put out to her to have a rematch. De Randamie added she believes she was the better fighter, and she dominated the standup. Randamie, who previously competed in the Strikeforce featherweight division, said she believes Holly is sad that she lost the fight and she is entitled to feel and do whatever she wants to do, and she respects that.

Cyborg said she expects to make a return to the UFC in June at UFC 212 in her native Brazil. Considered the world’s top 145-pounder, Justino (17-1) for several years flirted with the possibility of a 135-pound fight with former bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey.

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Thursday 23, Feb 2017

WADA Supports Reinstatement Of Russia

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The World Anti-Doping Agency President Sir Craig Reedie has remarked the reinstatement of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency’s (RUSADA) membership is strongly supported by his agency.

Reedie further remarked WADA is waiting for the Russian side to implement the established re-compliance criteria. Reedie also commented that the World Anti-Doping Agency is resolutely focused on supporting the Russian Anti-Doping Agency in its efforts to return to compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code, but it is first important that there is acceptance of the findings of the McLaren Report in Russia.

The WADA President said his agency is presently working with the relevant authorities in Russia, the two international experts that were installed in Russia in 2016 to ensure that there would be no external interference during the period of non-compliance and UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) to ensure that there is an improved, robust anti-doping program that regains the confidence of athletes and the international community. Reedie also commented that a roadmap to re-compliance has been provided to RUSADA, and the ball is firmly in their court.

An investigation was conducted by the WADA independent commission less than two years ago in regard to the activities of RUSADA, the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF), the Moscow anti-doping laboratory and the Russian Sports Ministry. The WADA independent commission accused certain sports officials and athletes of doping abuse. The commission also alleged that the athletes and officials were involvement in other activities related to violations of international regulations on performance enhancing substances. The Russian Anti-Doping Agency and work of the Moscow anti-doping laboratory was eventually suspended.

Since last January, anti-doping regulations in Russian sports have been exercised by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency strictly under the supervision of the UK anti-doping agency.

Reedie also said there are no plans by WADA to change the present Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) system that grants certain groups of athletes the legal right to use banned performance enhancing substances. The WADA President said the Therapeutic-Use Exemption program is a rigorous and necessary part of elite sport; which has overwhelming acceptance from athletes, physicians and all anti-doping stakeholders. Reedie also commented that TUEs are only granted by Anti-Doping Organizations (ADOs) – Ifs (International Federations), NADOs (National Anti-Doping Organizations) and Major Event Organizers (MEOs) – following a robust review process that is defined in the ISTUE; and, evaluation by three physicians specialized in sports medicine and/or other relevant specialties. The WADA President also said the four strict criteria have to be met for a TUE to be granted, and; further, a TUE provides a limited exemption to use a particular prohibited substance or method at a prescribed dosage, frequency, route of administration, and duration.

Last September, personal medical histories of athletes from the United States and other countries were leaked by an anonymous group of hackers. The hacker group announced the hacking of WADA’s ADAMS database and went on to leak documents that proved the World Anti-Doping Agency found an official loophole for sanctioning the use of banned performance enhancing drugs under the Therapeutic-Use Exemption system. It also commented that benefits of the loophole was exploited by US four-time Olympic Champion in gymnastics Simone Biles, US legendary tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams, and North American women’s basketball player Elena Dolle Donne.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: WADA Supports Reinstatement Of Russia

Tuesday 21, Feb 2017

European Athlete Of The Year Prize May Be All Lost For Russian Athlete

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Mariya Sergeyevna Savinova, the Russian former athlete who specialized in the 800 meters, is likely to be stripped of her 2011 European Athlete of the Year award after a doping ban of four years was imposed on her.

Svein Arne Hansen, the President of European Athletics, confirmed that the female athlete of the year award of Savinova could be removed. Vladimir Kazarin, her coach, may also lose his coach of the year prize from the same year. The European Athletics Council is likely to review the case of Savinova at its meeting in Paris between April 28 and 30.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) sanctioned Savinova and declared her results between July 26, 2010 and August 19, 2013 void. She will be unable to return to competition until August 2019 at the earliest. This means the Russian 800 meters runner was stripped of her Olympic gold medal from London 2012 and her world title from Daegu in 2011.

In a statement, the CAS said the 31-year-old Savinova was found to have been engaged in using doping with her ban backdated to begin from August 2015. A CAS statement read Mariya Savinova-Farnosova on the basis of clear evidence, including the evidence derived from her biological passport (ABP) is found to have been engaged in using doping from 26 July 2010 (the eve of the European Championship in Barcelona) through to 19 August 2013 (the day after the World Championship in Moscow) and accordingly to have violated Article 32.2(b) of the IAAF Competition Rules (the IAAF Rules) which concerns “Use or Attempted Use by an Athlete of a Prohibited Substance or a Prohibited Method.

The CAS statement further reads that a four-year period of ineligibility, beginning on 24 August 2015, has been imposed on Mariya Savinova-Farnosova and all results achieved by her between 26 July 2010 and 19 August 2013, are disqualified and any prizes, medals, prize and appearance money forfeited. Savinova was also stripped of her 2010 European title from Barcelona.

Savinova was named as one of five Russian athletes implicated in the first WADA Independent Commission report. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) initially called for Savinova to be banned for life.

Whistleblower Yuliya Stepanova filmed Savinova in undercover footage back in 2014. In the footage, Savinova was caught admitting to injecting banned substance Testosterone and using Oxandrolone. Savinova said on the recording that is our system and in Russia that only works with doping. Savinova also claimed in the video that her husband, Russian 1,500m runner Aleksey Farsonov, had very good contacts to the doping control laboratory in Moscow. This prompted the World Anti-Doping Agency to launch an investigation that culminated in the Russian Athletics Federation being banned from international competition in November 2015.

The 800m specialist also had ties to two coaches suspected of involvement in a state-sponsored doping scheme in her native country. Vladimir Kazarin remains suspended pending the results of an investigation and Alexei Melnikov, a long-distance running and race walking coach, was banned for life last year.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: European Athlete Of The Year Prize May Be All Lost For Russian Athlete

Sunday 19, Feb 2017

FLAU President Defends Anti-Doping Measures

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Ihor Hotsul, President of the Ukrainian Athletics Federation (FLAU), has come out strongly to justify improvements made by his organization to improve its anti-doping procedures.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) last year placed Ukraine along with Belarus, Ethiopia, Morocco, and Kenya on a special monitoring list. The National Anti-Doping Agency of Ukraine was briefly declared non-compliant by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) before it met a series of conditions in March last year.

In recent years, dozens of Ukrainian athletes have been tested positive for banned performance enhancing drugs. The list includes Heptathlete Lyudmila Blonska who failed a drug test for Methyltestosterone and was stripped of her Beijing 2008 silver medal.

Shot putter Yuriy Bilinog was stripped of his Athens 2004 Olympic gold after traces of anabolic steroid Oxandrolone were revealed in retests. Oleksandr Pyatnytsya, London 2012 javelin silver medal winner, was retrospectively disqualified after testing positive for Oral Turinabol.

Hotsul said there will be further improvements in the anti-doping procedures of the Ukrainian Athletics Federation following a pledge of support from the Government. Recently, the law was officially passed through Ukrainian Parliament.

Hotsul said the loss of many sponsors and partners made it hard for the FLAU to reimburse the costs of sample analysis through its low budget. Hotsul thanked the world governing body of athletics and its President Sebastian Coe for their support. He further commented that around 10 urine and 70 blood samples taken from the 2016 National Championships in Lutsk have already been analyzed this way by a testing group from Global Sports GmbH. The FLAU President said these examples clearly show the positive dynamics of measures taken in order to fight doping and also commented that we are very grateful to the IAAF for understanding our situation and for the support regarding testing and promoting the new edition of the anti-doping law. Hotsul also said we would like to emphasize once again that our Federation takes a tough and uncompromising approach to the fight against doping and it makes every possible effort for its successful implementation.

Ukraine Sports Minister Igor Zhdanov had previously remarked that his country will take the “necessary decisions” after they studied observations of the IAAF. Zhdanov had also remarked we are working closely with WADA and further commented that we had some problems but we have no systemic problems.

IAAF Sebastian Coe remarked at the end of the IAAF Council meeting in last March that Kenya, Ukraine, and Belarus have been put on a monitoring list for 2016 to strengthen their anti-doping regimes and make sure their journey to compliance is completed by the end of the year.

Morocco and Ethiopia are among the top countries in the world for middle and long-distance running. Since 2003, a lot of Moroccan athletes have been accused of doping and 37 of its athletes were suspended by the IAAF, the majority of them in the last four years. In the last three years, more than 40 Kenyan athletes have been caught up in drug scandals. Athletics Kenya chief executive Isaac Mwangin was suspended for corruption involving cover-ups.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: FLAU President Defends Anti-Doping Measures

Friday 17, Feb 2017

Detained Kazakh Biathletes Return Negative Doping Results

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In a joint statement, the Kazakhstan Biathlon Federation (KBF) and National Olympic Committee of Kazakhstan (KNOC) have announced that all 10 members of the Kazakhstan national biathlon team that were detained by police in Austria last week at the World Championships in Hochfilzen have returned negative results.

The Austrian Federal Criminal Police Office made a search of the hotel of the Kazakhstan national biathlon team was conducted on February 8, on the eve of the World Championships. Austrian authorities reported 30 officials seized a “significant volume” of items such as drugs, mobile phones and medical equipment. The International Biathlon Union then conducted blood and urine tests on the entire Kazakh team in coordination with the Austrian Anti-Doping Agency (NADA Austria).

The statement further reads that all the athletes were tested in full compliance with World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) procedures for all banned substances. The statement also reads this outcome comes as absolutely no surprise to the KBF and KNOC as the protection of clean athletes and the fight against doping, in all forms, remains a top priority for all anti-doping stakeholders in Kazakhstan.

The KBF and KNOC statement also reads that this whilst we completely support the right of the Austrian authorities and the International Biathlon Union (IBU) to rigorously pursue all anti-doping detection procedures has to be conducted based on internationally-recognized standards of fairness and the presumption of innocence granted for all athletes involved. It was also remarked that such procedures are clearly outlined in the WADA Code of Conduct. The statement went on to say that it is therefore with regret that the KBF and KNOC believe such procedures have been ignored on this occasion and that the Kazakhstani athletes involved have had their fundamental rights abused by this detention. The statement also said that Kazakh athletes in particular have complained of continuous interviews until 5 am, personal data exemption, and search and seizure activities during the ongoing training process.

The statement said this excessive and wrongful treatment of the Kazakh biathletes resulted in fatigue and stress that significantly limited their performances in the next day’s mixed relay event. It also reads that we urge the Austrian authorities and the IBU to investigate the whole process and treatment of the Kazakhstani athletes at the earliest opportunity to ensure such an incident is never repeated.

The IBU also released a statement and said the Criminal Intelligence Service Austria conducted the search of the Kazakhstan national biathlon team accommodations based on the investigation on possible anti-doping rules violations. It added the WADA-accredited laboratory in Seibersdorf reported all test results for urine, blood and serum were negative and added the samples were tested for all substances on the WADA prohibited list, including EPO and human growth hormone. It also said the IBU therefore is not considering any disciplinary actions against any athlete at this point in time. The world governing body of biathlon said the National Biathlon Federation of Kazakhstan has been cooperating with the state authorities, the IBU and NADA Austria during the investigation

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: Detained Kazakh Biathletes Return Negative Doping Results

Wednesday 15, Feb 2017

Armstrong Fails To Block Government Lawsuit

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Lance Armstrong, the American former professional road racing cyclist, has lost his bid to block a $100m (£79m) lawsuit by the US government.

The U.S. Justice Department had accused the cyclist, who had won the Tour de France a record seven consecutive times from 1999 to 2005, before he was banned for life and stripped of his titles, of defrauding the government by accepting millions of dollars in sponsorship money from the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency accused Armstrong in a report of engineering one of the most sophisticated doping schemes in sports.

On Monday, a federal judge cleared the way for a U.S. government lawsuit that seeks nearly $100 million in damages from the former professional cyclist to go to trial. Judge Christopher Cooper of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia wrote in a 37-page ruling that the Court must deny Armstrong’s motion for summary judgment on this issue because the government has offered evidence that Armstrong withheld information about the team’s doping and use of PEDs and that the anti-doping provisions of the sponsorship agreements were material to USPS’s decision to continue the sponsorship and make payments under the agreements.

Armstrong’s cycling team, the now-defunct Tailwind Sports Corp, received around $32.3 million from USPS from 2000 to 2004. Cooper said in his ruling USPS looked to capitalize on the Tour de France victories of Armstrong as well as his “compelling personal story.” The US federal government now wants the money back and Armstrong may likely end up paying triple under the False Claims Act.

In defense, the attorney of Armstrong claimed USPS suffered no damages and received far more in value from the sponsorship than the amount paid by it. The Judge responded by saying the argument should be decided by a jury at trial.

Cooper wrote the Court concludes that the monetary amount of the benefits USPS received is not sufficiently quantifiable to keep any reasonable juror from finding that the agency suffered a net loss on the sponsorship, especially if one considers the adverse effect on the Postal Service’s revenues and brand value that may have resulted from the negative publicity surrounding the subsequent investigations of Armstrong’s doping and his widely publicized confession. The Judge also said determination of damages must therefore be left to a jury and the Court accordingly declines to grant Armstrong summary judgment on damages and will set the case for trial.

The former cyclist admitted to making use of banned performance enhancing drugs in seven of his Tour wins.

In another development, Armstrong’s former directeur sportif Johan Bruyneel poured scorn on legendary cyclist Greg LeMond. Bruyneel said LeMond has an unnatural obsession with tarnishing the reputation of Lance Armstrong. Bruyneel, who is currently serving a 10-year ban for his involvement in doping, said LeMond has realized that people are less and less outraged by Lance, because it has become clear that he was only one of many who were doping, and that is why LeMond is now looking for something new with which to tarnish his name. Armstrong’s former directeur sportif added LeMond is not going to manage it and went on to comment that they can keep trying until the year 3000 and they are not going to find mechanical doping.

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Monday 13, Feb 2017

World Ski Champ Johaug Suspended For Doping

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Norwegian cross-country skier Therese Johaug has been suspended by the Sports Confederation of Norway for a period of 13 months after she tested positive for an anabolic steroid.

The suspension imposed on Johaug is a month shorter than the Norwegian Anti-Doping Organization’s proposed ban on her for 14 months. The one-month reduction will allow Johaug, a seven-time world champion, to participate in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February 2018.

The 28-year-old skier was given a temporary suspension after she tested positive for traces of the anabolic steroid Clostebol, banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), during an out-of-competition drug test on September 16th. Johaug claimed the steroid was contained in a lip cream called Trofodermin that was used by her on the recommendation of the team doctor to treat burns during a training session at high altitude in Italy in late August.

National ski team doctor Fredrik Bendiksen had insisted that he did not realized the cream contained Clostebol. Bendiksen took the full responsibility and resigned from his post in October.

Norwegian Ski Association President Erik Roste said it was a difficult day for Therese and Norwegian cross-country skiing. The President of Norway’s skiing federation said this is an unreal situation for him and many others. Roste said to stand here and clarify that one of the most wonderful athletes we have has been suspended for 13 months seems so unreal.

Johaug will be able to resume competition in November if the suspension is upheld. The ban was backdated to October 18, 2016, making Johaug’s return date November 18, 2017. She would now be eligible in time for next season’s World Cup and the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.

The Norwegian Anti-Doping Organization, the World Anti-Doping Agency, the International Olympic Committee, Johaug, and the International Ski Federation all have the possibility to launch an appeal.

A member of the international ski federation FIS’ board reportedly told media in Finland that an appeal to the Court of Arbitration in Switzerland (CAS) was likely. FIS board member Martti Uusitalo said it is very likely we will appeal based on discussions on the FIS board. Uusitalo remarked the 13-month suspension was not based on either the regulations of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) or the legal principles and precedent set by the CAS. Uusitalo added it is therefore best for all parts that the CAS investigate the case thoroughly and that we get a fair conclusion.

Johaug’s manager, Jorn Ernst, remarked that Johaug, her lawyer and others  would review the verdict and would then considered the thought of filing a review with the CAS. There is a risk the CAS could extend her suspension on any appeal. Ernst said there is a fear that the Olympics will be lost for Therese also if the verdict is appealed and the suspension is lengthened and added we as of now are looking forward to the Olympics.

Johaug has won seven world championship and two overall World Cup titles. She won gold in the 4×5-kilometer relay at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, and earned a bronze and silver medal at the 2014 Sochi Games.

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Saturday 11, Feb 2017

Endurance Horses Test Positive For Doping In UAE

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The International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI) has confirmed seven cases of horses testing positive for prohibited substances.

The FEI, for the first time, has suspended the horse trainers and riders with immediate effect. Usually, only riders receive immediate sanctions.

FEI secretary general Sabrina Ibanez said we take all breaches of the FEI anti-doping regulations extremely seriously and these latest positives demonstrate clearly that those using prohibited substances will be caught. Ibanez added this is the first time that we have suspended the trainers at the same time as the athletes, but when there are multiple breaches by one trainer, it is clear that there is something wrong with the stable management. The FEI secretary general also remarked that suspending the trainers immediately, rather than waiting until the athlete has been prosecuted, confirms that the FEI will not tolerate any attempts to enhance the performance of the horse.

All horses tested positive for the same four prohibited substances: the stimulant caffeine and its metabolites Theophylline, Theobromine, and Paraxanthine. Theophylline that is clinically indicated for the treatment of asthma and various respiratory diseases can be metabolized into caffeine. One of the horses also tested positive for Flumetasone, the corticosteroid, which is beneficial in the treatment of skin disorders.

Under the FEI’s equine anti-doping and controlled medication rules (EADCMRs), Theophylline, caffeine and Theobromine are listed as controlled medication and specified substances and Paraxanthine is a banned substance under the FEI EADCMRs. Under the anti-doping rules, controlled medications are used to treat horses on a regular basis but must have cleared from the horse’s system by the time of competition, while banned substances should never be found in the body of the horse.

The horses, all registered to the UAE, were tested at four different events at the Al Wathba venue in Abu Dhabi.

Castlebar Lightning, ridden by the UAE’s Saeed Sultan Shames Al Maamri, Intisaar, ridden by the UAE’s Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum, and Mraseel, ridden by the UAE’s Sheikh Sh Hamed Dalmook Al Maktoum in the CEI2 120km ride at Al Wathba on 17 December 2016, tested positive for the four substances. Mraseel also tested positive for Flumetasone.

Samples taken at the CEI2 120km ladies ride at Al Wathba, Abu Dhabi in the UAE on 26 November 2016 from Rafik De Kerpoint, ridden by Ireland’s Amy Louise McAuley tested positive for all four substances.

Salam Banquetol, ridden by the UAE’s Abdulla Ghanim Al Marri to finish second at the CEI2* 120km event at Al Wathba on 24 December, tested positive to all four substances, as did both Tom Jones TE, ridden by the UAE’s Abdulla Ghanim Al Marri, and Aspenview Amir, ridden by the UAE’s Saeed Ahmad Jaber Al Harbi at the CEI2 120km event at Al Wathba on 14 January 2016.

The seven horses are also suspended for a two-month period from the date of notification (30 January 2017). The seven riders and the trainers Ismail Mohd, Khalifa Ghanim Al Marri and Mohd Ahmed Ali Al Subose have all been provisionally suspended from the same date.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: Endurance Horses Test Positive For Doping In UAE

Thursday 09, Feb 2017

Russian City Loses Right To Host 2021 World Biathlon Contest

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Russia suffered further embarrassment on Wednesday after losing the right to host a World Cup event and junior World Championships. The International Biathlon Union (IBU) announced the city of Tyumen has been stripped off the hosting rights for the 2021 Biathlon World Championships amid allegations of widespread and state-sponsored doping in Russia.

An IBU statement said the executive committee invites Russia to cede its right to host the 2021 world championships. The statement also reads that the IBU would strip the town of Tyumen of hosting rights itself if Russia failed to take the initiative.

In September last year, the city of Tyumen won the right to host the event ahead of Slovenia’s Pokljuka and Nove Mesto in the Czech Republic. Officials from several national biathlon federations, including those of Canada, the United States, and Norway then went on to publicly criticize the choice of a Russian venue. The officials had then remarked that the selection of a Russian venue would send the wrong signal in the wake of a report by World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren that alleged widespread state-backed doping in Russia.

The International Biathlon Union will reattribute the hosting rights at its 2018 Congress.

Martin Fourcade, the world’s top biathlete, and women’s World Cup leader Laura Dahlmeier made strong calls for the IBU to step up its fight against state-sponsored tactics of Russia after only two of the 31 named athletes in the McLaren report were suspended. Charges against 22 of the Russian biathletes were dropped by the IBU for lack of evidence.

The president of the Russian federation, Alexander Kravtsov, remarked his federation was “ready to appeal the decision.” Kravtsov added the Russian federation would not give up the hosting rights voluntarily.

In 2009, 20 national federations signed a petition that demanded tougher punishments for cases of systematic doping. A petition was signed last month by more than 150 biathletes and coaches. The petition urged the sport’s governing body, the IBU, to impose higher fines of up to $1 million, impose longer bans of up to eight years, and introduce the reduction of start places for national federations with athletes caught doping.

In response, the IBU said it would not tighten its anti-doping regulations on an immediate basis. The International Biathlon Union said longer bans on athletes caught doping cannot be imposed as anti-doping rules of the sport have to comply with the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Code. However, the IBU said it will establish a working group for preparing new rules for higher fines and reduced starting spots that could take effect at the start of the 2017-18 season.

The woes of Russia were not assisted by the recent statement of Russian deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko. The world’s governing body of athletics recently criticized Mutko for his role and issued statements. In his defense, Mutko said Russian coaches who do not understand how to work without doping should “retire.” Russia will miss the World Championships that start on August 4 in London though some Russian athletes could compete in London under a neutral banner.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: Russian City Loses Right To Host 2021 World Biathlon Contest

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