Paralympic Medal Winning Powerlifter Suspended

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has announced has Nigerian Paralympic medal winning powerlifter Folashade Oluwafemiayo has received a two-year suspension after testing positive for a banned substance at the 2013 Fazaa International Powerlifting Competition in Dubai.

Oluwafemiayo, who won silver in the women’s 75kg event at London 2012, returned an adverse analytical finding in a urine sample provided on February 26 for Furosemide (a loop diuretic), which the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) classifies as a masking agent for performance enhancing drugs. She was stripped of the 125kg world record and gold medal she clinched at the competition and received a fine of €1,500 (£1,300/$2,000). Furosemide is included on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned drug list due to its alleged use as a masking agent for other drugs and has also been used to prevent Thoroughbred and Standardbred race horses from bleeding through the nose during races.

After her suspension, Egyptian Geehan Hassan, who originally won silver with a lift of 117kg, will receive gold, bronze medalist Marzena Łazarz of Poland will take silver with 97kg and Libya’s Sahar El-Gnemi who finished fourth will be awarded the bronze medal with 90kg. A statement from the IPC reads Folashade Oluwafemiayo in accordance with the IPC Anti-Doping Code will serve a two-year suspension for the offence beginning on April 19 2013, the date from which she was notified of her Anti-Doping Rule Violation and added that the IPC remains committed to a doping free sporting environment at all levels as a signatory of the World Anti-Doping Code (WADC).

The Nigerian powerlifting games star, after winning a Silver medal at the London 2012 Paralympic games, married her male powerlifting counterpart Tolulope Owolabi on November 3, 2012 at Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria after having their traditional engagement in April 2012. The wedding was attended by the Sports Minister, Bolaji Abdullahi, the Director of Sports, Patrick Ekeji and some other top officials in the Sports Ministry.

Oluwafemiayo’s case came just a few days after Uzbekistani powerlifter Ruza Kuzieva was hit with an identical ban testing positive for a prohibited substance at the fifth Fazaa International Powerlifting Competition earlier this year. She was given a ban of two years for returning an adverse analytical finding for Methandienone, which is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and therefore prohibited under the IPC Anti-Doping Code, in a urine sample provided during the competition in Dubai on February 23. Suspension of the athlete began on April 19 and this means she will now lose all results, medals, points, records and prizes from February 23 onwards, including the bronze medal she won she set the junior world record with a lift of 52kg besides receiving a fine of €1,500 (£1,270/€2,000). An IPC statement reads the principle of strict liability applies to anti-doping matters and therefore, each athlete is strictly liable for the substances found in his or her sample, and that an anti-doping rule violation occurs whenever a prohibited substance (or its metabolites or markers) is found in his or her bodily specimen, whether or not the athlete intentionally or unintentionally used a prohibited substance or was negligent or otherwise at fault.

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