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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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