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Thursday 28, May 2015

  Gareth Warburton And Rhys Williams Back After Doping Bans

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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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Wednesday 30, Jul 2014

  European Hurdles Champion Out Of Commonwealth Games

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European hurdles champion out of commonwealth games

Welsh 400m hurdler Rhys Williams has been provisionally suspended from Glasgow Commonwealth Games after he tested positive for a banned substance. The 400m hurdle European champion said he “devastated” to hear about his positive drugs test and denied any wrongdoing.

Ranked 14th in the world this year, Williams has the opportunity to appeal against the initial suspension at a full hearing before the National Anti-Doping Panel. Williams, the co-captain of Wales’ Commonwealth Games athletics squad, was using the Mountain Fuel supplements.

Recently, Wales 800m runner Gareth Warburton also received a suspension and both athletes have been using Night Fuel, a chocolate-tasting drink high in protein. A spokesman for Mountain Fuel confirmed an internal and external investigation is going on to find out what has happened.

The 30-year-old Williams, son of Welsh rugby great JJ Williams, won the European title in Helsinki in 2012. Williams was also the Welsh U15 backstroke swimming champion. He won the European Youth Olympics in 2001 and also won the 400 meters hurdles at the 2005 European U23 Championships. The 30-year-old was expected to be one of the chief rivals of Dai Greene for gold at the Glasgow Games.

Welsh Athletics announced that it has already launched an internal review after the two failed drugs tests and remarked it was obviously concerned that this is the second anti-doping violation by a senior Welsh athlete.

Meanwhile, Mike Hooper, the chief executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation, has remarked that he does not believe Rhys Williams’ failed drug test in any way puts a cloud over the Games. Hooper added he thinks it sends a very strong and clear signal to anyone who would go down that path that if you take that choice, you will be caught. Hooper, addressing a daily briefing in the host city, said the case of Williams was picked up in pre-Games testing in the UK and was not part of the Games-time testing program. He went on to remark that a “totally different” approach is now being taken to testing that does not simply focus on competition time. Hooper further remarked the emphasis now is on working in collaboration with a number of other anti-doping organizations and said the reality is combating doping in sport is a fundamental priority for the Commonwealth Games Federation.

Former Wales’ athlete Baroness Grey-Thompson said she was shocked to learn about the positive doping test of Williams. She said it is a huge blow for Wales and for athletics and she does not think we ever would have expected anything like this from him.

Matt Newman, the chief executive of Welsh Athletics, explained the B sample of Williams was tested and that came back to match the A same results. Newman added that what will now happen is we shall have the opportunity to go in front of an anti-doping panel but that is not likely to happen until the autumn. He also remarked it is really now in the interim period for Rhys to gather as much information as possible to make a case for the defense.

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Tuesday 22, Jul 2014

  Gareth Warburton Banned From Commonwealth Games

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Gareth Warburton Banned From Commonwealth Games

Welsh 800m runner Gareth Warburton has been provisionally suspended from all competition for committing anti-doping violations, according to an announcement by UK Athletics.

Warburton was charged with committing anti-doping rule violations under UK Athletics Anti-Doping Rules (presence of prohibited substances). The 800m runner competed in the London Olympics and was expected to compete for Wales in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. The 31-year-old athlete, who hails from Caernarfon, has the opportunity to respond to the charges against him.

A Welsh Athletics statement said Welsh Athletics can confirm the provisional suspension of athlete Gareth Warburton after being charged with committing anti-doping rule violations under UK Athletics Anti-Doping Rules (presence of prohibited substances). It was added that Gareth has the opportunity to respond to the charges against him, and to have those charges determined at a full hearing before the National Anti-Doping Panel. The statement also said Welsh Athletics strongly supports clean sport and has established a comprehensive education program for its athletes and also remarked Welsh Athletics will not be making any further comment.

Brian Davies, Chef de Mission of Team Wales, said Team Wales can confirm that one of the competitors selected for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games has been provisionally suspended after being charged with committing an anti-doping rule violation. Davies remarked Gareth Warburton as a result will no longer be able to compete at the Games and went on to remark that as the athlete is presumed innocent unless and until the charges brought against him have been upheld it would be inappropriate for us to comment further. Davies also said Team Wales is committed to providing athletes with the necessary education required to ensure we compete as clean athletes at a clean Games, and have worked closed with UK Anti-Doping in the build up to Glasgow 2014.

In another development, double world champion Helen Jenkins has pulled out of Glasgow through injury. Considered by many as Wales’ main medal triathlon hope, Jenkins was ruled out with a leg problem. Jenkins remarked she is obviously devastated and added she was very proud to be selected to represent Wales and was looking forward to racing on a tough, honest triathlon course in Strathclyde. The 30-year-old she will get more information from the specialist but with a grade two tear of her Plantar Fascia, it’s almost certain that she would not be racing again this season. The Bridgend star, who finished fifth at the London Olympics in 2012 and was crowned world champion in 2008 and 2011, she particularly wants to thank her support team who have worked so hard to get her back racing after such a difficult 18 months after the Olympics. Brian Davies remarked it is undoubtedly a huge blow to the team and she’ll be sorely missed but first and foremost our thoughts are with Helen. The Chef de Mission of Team Wales said we wish her a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing her in action again in the near future.

The Commonwealth triathlon takes place on the opening day of the Games, July 24.

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