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Monday 05, Sep 2016

  Anti-Doping Advisers Resign Over ‘Ignored’ Suggestions

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Three anti-doping advisers to the world governing body of swimming have submitted their resignations. Professor Andrew Pipe has left his role as chairman of the body’s doping control review board, as have two other members of the eight-strong panel.

In a letter to the governing body, the experts added that the failure of FINA to enact other recommendations that the doping control review board has made in the past, is incompatible with our dedication to clean sport and optimal anti-doping practice.

The anti-doping advisers remarked FINA ignored a call to ban some Russian athletes from Rio 2016. Seven swimmers competed at the recently concluded Rio Olympics despite bans from the board for doping violations. Those banned by the board included Yulia Efimova who won two silver medals in the women’s 100m and 200m breaststroke events.

The resignation letter of Pipe criticized FINA over its handling of the process. In the letter, the chairman of the body’s doping control review board said we were disappointed to note that our recommendations were not followed – and even more disappointed to receive no specific response to a subsequent written request for information regarding the reasons for FINA’s decision. It also said we learned of FINA’s decisions regarding the eligibility of Russian competitors only by observing the Olympic competition.

The FINA Doping Control Review Board (DCRB) is composed by eight persons appointed by the Bureau. A majority of the DCRB members shall be either physicians licensed in internal medicine, endocrinology, clinical pharmacology or sports medicine, with experience in anti-doping practices or analytical chemists with experience in WADA accredited laboratories or their equivalent. The Doping Control Review Board may review and make recommendations to the Bureau regarding the doping control program of FINA and may make proposals for additions or amendments to the Doping Control Rules for consideration by the Congress. The DCRD is also entrusted with the task of approving the Therapeutic Use Exemptions on behalf of FINA in accordance with the FINA Doping Control Rules and WADA Code.

In its defense, FINA remarked it provided the advice to the International Olympic Committee and the Court of Arbitration for Sport and also commented that it was not responsible for the final outcome.

FINA president Dr Julio C Maglione said the world governing body of swimming always co-ordinates with all stakeholders in the sport movement to assure that transparency and zero tolerance in the fight against doping is in place, thus protecting the clean athletes. Maglione added please rest assured that we will continue the same policy in fighting against doping without any limitation, equally applying the doping control rules to all athletes and all FINA Member Federations.

Many criticized FINA for resisting suggestions to retest samples taken at the 2015 world championships hosted by Russia. The doping case of China’s star swimmer Sun Yang, a two-time 2012 Olympic freestyle gold medalist, was shrouded in mystery two years back. The positive test of Yang was for a banned stimulant and subsequent three-month ban was confirmed in China and by the world governing body of swimming only after it was served.

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Monday 07, Jul 2008

  Gary Hall Jr. speaks of steroid use in swimming

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Gary Hall Jr SteroidsGary Hall Jr., a guy who spent most of his 33 years underwater, has a crystal-clear view of the use of steroids in his sport.

The two-time defending gold medal winner in the 50-meter freestyle offered straightforward views on doping and anti-doping agencies as he met the press during the first day of the eight-day US Olympic trials on Sunday.

Hall pointed out that sport in general appears flooded with use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs, overwhelming anti-doping agencies to the limit to keep up. He said majority of athletes who have been found out of using steroids and other PEDs were inadvertently brought down by scandals such as the infamous Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) affair, and not by anti-doping agencies. This means that many athletes who use these substances oftentimes escape these agencies’ detection.

Hall, not known for diplomatic tact when dealing with those who run his sport, would surely rankle some more feathers with his too-honest opinions. In his sport, Hall said, the use of steroids is far more prevalent than most athletes and coaches publicly acknowledge. Although he admitted he has no direct evidence to prove his belief, he knows that the problem exists.

“Unfortunately, we rely on an inadequate doping system — doping agencies — for the proof,” Hall said. “We live in a society where you’re innocent until proven guilty — the key word being ‘proven.’ We don’t have any way of proving people are cheating.”

At the US Olympic trials, athletes will be randomly tested for steroids and other banned substances.

Hall is a three-time Olympian and 10-time Olympic medalist, and a role model for diabetes patients. In 1999, he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, commonly known as childhood or juvenile diabetes. A year prior to the diagnosis, Hall was suspended for marijuana use by FINA, the International Swimming Federation.