Gareth Warburton And Rhys Williams Back After Doping Bans

Welsh middle distance runner Gareth Warburton and former European 400 meters hurdles champion Rhys Williams are ready to compete for the first time since they failed a doping test last summer. Both had to withdraw from the 2014 Commonwealth Games and Williams lost the opportunity to become the co-captain of Wales’ athletics team.

Williams is now focusing on qualifying for the British team for the World Championships in Beijing. Rhys Williams is expected to contest the 400m hurdles at the South and East Wales event at Newport’s Spytty Park.

A statement from UK Anti-Doping said Warburton and Williams may have brought this matter on themselves but they are victims. It was further added that they are not cheats and they made mistakes and have paid for them heavily already. It was also commented that UKAD view that the panel should look closely at the failings of both Warburton and Williams but whilst doing so recognize that this is a contaminated supplement case.

In a statement, Welsh Athletics had remarked (when news of their doping bans broke out) that Welsh Athletics acknowledges the four and six month bans given to athletes Rhys Williams and Gareth Warburton following their UK Anti-Doping hearings. The statement also added that all Welsh Athletics Commonwealth Games (CWG) and Welsh Athletics Academy (WAA) supported athletes and their coaches have been reminded of their responsibilities regarding the WADA code, prohibited lists and strict liability and anti-doping education will continue to form a key part of our national development program.

The two Welsh athletes served their backdated bans to the time of their provisional suspensions. According to a report by the UK Anti-Doping, Warburton and Williams had not knowingly taken anything and had not deliberately cheated. The UKAD report revealed that the athletes did not take sufficient advice before taking Mountain Fuel supplements, one of which was found to be contaminated with an anabolic steroid.

Williams tested positive for the presence of a metabolite of an anabolic steroid after an in-competition test on July 11 at the Grand Prix in Glasgow. Warburton tested positive for the presence of two metabolites of anabolic steroids, following an out-of-competition test on June 17. UKAD investigators were told by Mountain Fuel chief executive Darren Foote that the supplements were the source of the banned substances and added that other competitors had used the products but there seems to be a problem with the batch in question. Foote remarked the only logical explanation is that something must have gone wrong during the blending, manufacturing or packaging process which led to the contamination.

UKAD Director of Legal Graham Arthur remarked at that time that these cases send a powerful reminder to athletes that there is no guarantee that any supplement product is free from banned substances. The UKAD Director of Legal also said athletes are strongly advised to be very cautious if they choose to use any supplement product and must undertake thorough research of any products before use and went on to add that information revealed as a result should be further investigated and we advise athletes to keep evidence of their research.

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