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An Olympian, a burrito, a failed drug test: Former ASU runner Shelby Houlihan looks to rebound after doping ban

On a cloudy, characteristically cool December night in Beaverton, Oregon, Shelby Houlihan, the American record holder in the 1,500 and 5,000 meters, accompanied Courtney Frerichs, the Olympic silver medalist in the steeplechase, and Frerichs’ sister, Lindsey, to an authentic Mexican food truck near her home. 

The three ordered carne asada burritos and returned to Houlihan’s house to eat and watch “The Bachelorette.”

The next morning, on Dec. 15, 2020, the former Arizona State standout was given a random drug test. Weeks later, in mid-January, Houlihan was notified in an email from the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) that her urine sample revealed the presence of 19-norandrosterone (19-NA), a metabolite produced by the substance nandrolone – an anabolic steroid prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

She was issued a provisional suspension, which set off a cascade of events that led to a four-year ban, knocked her out of the U.S. Olympic Trials leading up to the Tokyo Olympics and will bar her from competing until January 2025 when she will be almost 32.

It is, Houlihan said, “an athlete’s worst nightmare.”

Houlihan, 29, has lost the financial support of Nike. She also saw former teammate Gabriela DeBues-Stafford leave the club rather than risk sanctions because of the Bowerman Track Club continued relationship with Houlihan.

Houlihan said her initial response to the positive test was “shock and disbelief.” She wondered, “How am I going to explain (the presence of a banned substance) when I don’t even know where it came from myself?”

Houlihan was at a high-altitude training camp in Flagstaff when she received the email. 

“I opened up my phone to an email that was urgent, confidential and … it was this lab report of scientific words that I could not read,” Houlihan told Cronkite News. 

The Sioux City, Iowa, native said she read the email over about 10 times and had to Google which substance triggered the positive test, because she had never heard of nandrolone.

Then she called Jerry Schumacher, her coach at BTC, the professional Nike club that Houlihan had trained with since graduating from ASU in 2015.

“I’m just sobbing and trying to tell him what’s going on, but crying too hard,” Houlihan said.

The long road

Today, Houlihan lives alone in Portland and said she has relied on her former BTC teammates, her boyfriend and her family for support. She does odd jobs, including food delivery, and continues to train with the hope of returning to competition at an elite level.

It is not a situation she envisioned growing up in Sioux City, Iowa, surrounded by runners, including her mother, Connie, and her uncle, Bob Prince, who competed in college.

After winning several state titles at Sioux City East High School, Houlihan continued her success at Arizona State, where she won the NCAA 1,500 meters in 2014 and finished as a 12-time All-American, the second-most in program history.

She holds five school records: the outdoor 800 and 1,500 meters, and the indoor 800, mile and 3,000.

That success set the stage for 2016 Summer Olympics, where she finished 11th in the 5,000 meters and was the highest-placing U.S. runner in the race.

She also finished fourth in the 1,500 meters and set the American record at the 2019 World Outdoor Championships.

More Olympic success felt inevitable.

Shock and disbelief

Elise Cranny, a close friend and former Bowerman teammate of Houlihan’s, remembers that news of the positive test “didn’t really sink in” at first.

“I came back to the house, and I was like, ‘Man, something is very off … something is not right,’” said Cranny, who was living with Houlihan during the camp. “I think the initial reaction from everyone was disbelief, and like, ‘Oh, this is something that’s going to get figured out’ because it’s seriously wrong.”

Schumacher and Houlihan called attorney Paul Greene to “just try to figure out a game plan” and investigate further what could have happened. 

The first step was a pregnancy test because nandrolone can be found in pregnant women. After she determined she wasn’t pregnant, Houlihan compiled a log of everything she ate the week before the test. She scoured text messages, bank statements, food receipts and iPhone locations to determine everything she had consumed.

“I was able to piece it together pretty well,” Houlihan said. “And then, ultimately, we just felt like the food truck the night before had to be the most likely source.”

Houlihan wouldn’t name the establishment that served her the burrito because she doesn’t “want to mess with any lawsuit.” However, she isn’t blaming the food truck. 

“I don’t think they did anything wrong,” Houlihan said. “I think it just kind of happened.”

While Houlihan and her BTC teammates frequently ate at that food truck, she recalls that she received her order more quickly than usual, and the foil-wrapped burrito was unlabeled. 

Houlihan believes she may have been mistakenly given a burrito containing offal (pig organ meat), which can contain nandrolone. 

She remembers the meat in the burrito being finely chopped and that grease pooled in the foil. She said it seemed more rich than the burritos she had eaten there before, so much so that she was unable to finish it despite being very hungry after eating little else that day.

“We knew (nandrolone) can be found in pig offal, and we knew that I ate at a food truck that served pig offal 10 hours before (the test),” she said. “And we knew that when you ingest it, it can be at its highest levels 10 hours after ingestion, and that’s the exact kind of time frame that I had eaten that.

“And so as unlikely as all of those things were, it just seemed like the only thing that we could say, ‘All right, this makes some sense,’ and that’s really the only thing that we had to go on.”

Houlihan was the only one among the three who ate at the food truck who was tested.

A search for answers

She provided a hair sample that was examined by a toxicologist and it showed no trace of nandrolone. She also passed a polygraph examination that concluded she was not lying when asked if, at any time, she knowingly or intentionally ingested nandrolone. 

Houlihan’s urine tests taken Nov. 22, 2020, Jan. 23, 2021, and Feb. 4, 2021– before and after the positive test – all were negative. She also had her vitamins and supplements analyzed by a lab.

The previous urine tests and the lab report convinced Houlihan that it’s unlikely the positive result was triggered by a supplement or vitamin she was taking. She is still being randomly tested and all of her ensuing tests have come back clean.

She believes that given “the information that we have right now, (the burrito) is the only thing that kind of makes any type of logical sense.” 

Houlihan hired a private investigator to trace its sources of meat, but the effort was unsuccessful.

The private investigator found that the food truck owner purchased 30 pounds of pork stomach in a frozen batch from Iowa Beef Processors in September of 2020. However, the owner had no box or label from the meat used in December that could be traced to its processing plant.

And the investigator couldn’t determine whether the owner used pork from a castrated or uncastrated boar. Houlihan’s attorney argued it must have been uncastrated boar meat that triggered her positive test.

When the AIU officially charged Houlihan four months later, the U.S. Olympic Trials, scheduled for June 18-27, were fast approaching. Houlihan decided to go straight to the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to avoid missing the trials. 

The CAS rejected Houlihan’s explanation of what happened and banned her from the sport for four years on June 11, 2021.

Houlihan’s ban lasts until Jan. 13, 2025. She missed last summer’s Tokyo Olympics, the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Oregon, and she’ll miss next year’s World Athletics Championships in Budapest and the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The CAS’s three-member panel found that Houlihan’s “explanation that the 19-NA in her sample resulted from her consumption of the meat of an uncastrated boar simply cannot be accepted. The explanation presupposes a cascade of factual and scientific improbabilities, which means that its composite probability is (very) close to zero.”

Lacking evidence

The panel said that Houlihan failed to prove that the burrito she ate contained boar offal.

“First, the athlete would have had to have been served pork at the food truck despite ordering beef,” the court said. “Second, the pork consumed would not have been ‘normal’ pork product ordered by the food truck, but uncastrated boar. Third, uncastrated boar enters the food chain through completely different channels than pork.”

The panel said that the polygraph result and Houlihan’s hair sample were not “sufficient for the Athlete to rebut the presumption that the ADRV (anti-doping rule violation) was intentional.”

The court also said the concentration of nandrolone in Houlihan’s urine was “2-3 times higher than the highest values reported in the scientific literature after the ingestion of much more significant quantities of meat of mature (uncastrated) boar.”

On June 14, 2021, Houlihan publicly announced she tested positive for nandrolone and would not be competing at the upcoming Olympic Trials. Because Houlihan hadn’t been racing, many thought she was battling injuries instead of serving a provisional suspension.

“And at the end of the day, the panel didn’t think it was probable enough, which is unfortunate,” Houlihan said. “But yeah, I mean, that’s the only thing that we really have as an explanation. I hope at some point, maybe some more information pops up, and maybe it’s something else entirely. I don’t know. But it would be great to have an answer at some point.”

In May, Houlihan appealed the suspension to the Swiss Federal Tribunal. 

She lost. It was her last opportunity.

The hardest part to watch, Crany said, “is her getting renewed hope through the appeal process or through different things, and then seeing her kind of have that life back in her eyes again, just for it to come crashing down.” 

At one point, Houlihan was offered a reduced sentence – a three-year ban instead of four years – if she admitted guilt.

She refused.

“I never even considered that to be an option, because I knew I didn’t take (nandrolone) intentionally,” Houlihan said. “And I wasn’t going to admit to something that I didn’t do. At least I fought for myself and tried to do the right thing. But taking accountability for something that I didn’t do, it’s definitely not on the table for me.”

Houlihan thinks the system is flawed because the doping agency never had to prove she took a banned substance. 

“There was obviously something in my system and I understand that I have a responsibility for what’s in my body,” Houlihan said. “But I think knowing that I never intentionally put it there and (I’m) still having to serve a four-year ban is definitely a flaw in the system. I don’t feel like they did their due diligence in trying to figure out what the truth was. It was just at the end of the day I couldn’t, beyond a reasonable doubt, prove where it came from.” 

Houlihan said she believes the burden of proof should be shifted and “split 50-50 between the doping agency and the athlete.” While she believes that she should have to prove what triggered the positive test, she also believes the doping agency should have to prove that she intentionally cheated.

“Just even the playing field a little bit,” Houlihan said. “If you’ve ingested something, it’s almost impossible to try to figure out where that is. Because you’re getting notified a month or two later, I don’t have the source anymore. So it’s just a really impossible task to try to figure out. And I think it’s pretty flawed that if you can’t figure it out, it’s just an automatic four-year ban, and you’re treated like a doper.”

A new normal

Houlihan’s life today includes strong family and friend support.

Cranny said she had a lot of conversations with BTC teammates to make sure Houlihan felt supported.

“What you initially think of is her mental health and someone’s life being completely ripped out from under them and not being able to do what you love to do and what she feels like she’s been born and made to do,” Cranny said. “In the beginning, you worry about her being by herself, and making sure that she has people around her and she feels supported.”

Shelby’s mother, Connie Houlihan, who lives in Phoenix, said she is worried about the mental toll on her daughter. 

“You’re afraid of suicide,” Connie Houlihan said. “You know, everything’s a possibility … with depression and with something that critical that they took away from her. You don’t know. Of course, you’re scared to death.”

Connie said a couple of Shelby’s sisters went to be with Shelby right away because they didn’t want her alone. Shelby wouldn’t let her parents come visit, however, because, Connie said, “she was so overcome.”

“I think, if we would have flown there right away, she would have … this is the way she explained it to me, ‘That it would have made it all too real.’

“She was really struggling dealing with it,” Connie said. “She was crying all the time. But I think that was the hardest part for us that we couldn’t just jump on a plane and go and be with her because we respected her decision.”

Chloe Houlihan, one of Shelby’s five sisters, said her sister remained “very resilient through everything.” She said she has tried to be someone Shelby “can talk to when she’s kind of struggling.”

Shelby no longer trains with her BTC teammates, something which Chloe said has been difficult and “a little bit isolating” for her sister.

Until May, Houlihan was paying Schumacher to coach her as an independent athlete, but she confirmed she’s now training entirely by herself – using six years of past training logs as a reference.

“We just felt it was best to maybe cut ties for a little bit,” Houlihan said. “I think there was just a lot of publicity going on around me and him still working together. There was just a lot of scrutiny, I think.”

Some of that publicity and scrutiny was fueled by DeBues-Stafford’s decision to leave BTC because of Houlihan.

A two-time Canadian Olympian who placed fifth in the 1,500 at the Tokyo Olympics, DeBues-Stafford announced in April she left BTC due to Houlihan’s continued ban involvement with BTC at the time. 

“Fundamentally, I left the Bowerman Track Club because, despite my best efforts, I was unable to verify that the club was not in violation of World Athletics anti-doping regulations,” DeBues-Stafford said in an interview conducted via email. 

DeBues-Stafford was concerned that Houlihan was working out “under the guidance of” the three BTC coaches (Schumacher, Shalane Flanagan and Pascal Dobert) at the same location and times that other BTC athletes were working out while under the supervision of the same coaches. 

“While we never did a rep together, there was still what felt to me like an unnecessarily risky proximity between both men’s and women’s teams and an athlete serving a ban,” DeBues-Stafford said.

According to DeBues-Stafford, Houlihan would also use the private gym – built at Schumacher’s residence for BTC athletes to use – at the same time BTC athletes were there under staff supervision. 

“Shelby would drive to the Nike campus up to four times a week at the team’s regular time and the starting point for our regular daily runs together so she could run with us,” DeBues-Stafford said. “If she arrived before us, she would wait for BTC athletes at the meeting spot to see if any BTC athletes arrived so she could run with us. These sometimes included long runs. She also ran with the team on a regular basis at altitude camp in Flagstaff.”

Houlihan said she and her attorney inquired about the rules of her ban and were told that she couldn’t go to any practices or work out with anyone on the team, but if she happened to bump into them and they were running at the same place, then she could run with them. 

“My attempts to discuss my concerns with team staff were rebuffed, as were the earlier and more sustained efforts of other teammates,” DeBues-Stafford said. 

BTC did not receive independent legal advice on the issue, DeBues-Stafford said. She also said Houlihan shared accommodations with a full-time member of BTC staff during the Flagstaff camp, and those accommodations were used for organized BTC athlete support activities. 

“When I asked if Shelby’s lawyer had explicitly asked the AIU about her using the same gym as BTC and about how to handle the altitude trip, I did not get a clear response,” DeBues-Stafford said.

DeBues-Stafford said she “independently sought answers,” and reached out to an anti-doping organization to verify that BTC’s collective behavior was within the rules and that there was no liability on anyone other than Houlihan.

According to DeBues-Stafford, “the anti-doping organization could not guarantee that the actions of BTC and Shelby did not constitute a violation, and could not guarantee that other athletes and support staff couldn’t face repercussions either.”

She said the anti-doping agency cited two rules in the World Anti-Doping code and advised her to leave BTC and submit an official anonymous tip to the AIU.

A trying time

While Schumacher and some of Houlihan’s other teammates knew about her positive test in January of 2021, DeBues-Stafford did not learn about Houlihan’s positive test until a couple of days before the team publicly announced the ban about six months later. 

“Learning this news in mid-June almost derailed my Olympics,” DeBues-Stafford wrote in an Instagram post in April. “It was a small miracle that I showed up in Tokyo in shape to run sub-four (minutes) twice in 48 hours and place fifth.”

Houlihan said she was “surprised” and felt “blindsided and hurt and confused” by DeBues-Stafford’s social media posts because DeBues-Stafford had not told her about her concerns.

“I never knew that that was a problem for her,” Houlihan said. “And I’m not sure why she didn’t reach out to me. I reached out to her after I read her posts.”

Houlihan said she apologized to DeBues-Stafford for being affected by her situation.

“I think she just felt like she didn’t want to add to what I was going through by bringing it to me, which I don’t agree with, personally,” Houlihan said. “I felt like I would have rather had that conversation with her and I would have been more than glad to try to help that situation for her in any way, instead of what ended up happening. I think that was a lot worse – what ended up happening – than her just coming and talking to me about it.”

DeBues-Stafford has since moved to Victoria, B.C. and is now coached by Trent and Hilary Stellingwerff. 

“When I told Jerry (Schumacher) I was leaving BTC due to the lack of separation between Shelby and the group, he asked if I really wanted to leave, given he was thinking of possibly no longer coaching Shelby if she lost her appeal at the Swiss Federal Tribunal,” Debues-Stafford said.

Debues-Stafford said Houlihan was still driving to the Nike campus and running with BTC when Debues-Stafford left Portland on March 31.

“Growing fear over the team potentially breaking rules, coupled with frustration at the lack of action by the team left me in an awful and unsustainable headspace,” DeBues-Stafford said. “I left altitude camp early at the end of February to get some breathing space and made my decision to leave the team.”

A powerful influence

Cranny said she misses running with Houlihan and credits her for pushing her to succeed.

“I think of her all the time when I’m racing now,” Cranny said. “She’s a huge reason why I feel like I am where I am right now in my own running. She just really opened my eyes to the importance of not limiting yourself and putting yourself in it.” 

Although BTC could look a lot different, Houlihan would still like to eventually come back to the group once her ban is up.

“I definitely would like to rejoin Bowerman,” Houlihan said. “That’s like my family, basically. I’ve been a part of that group since I went pro in 2015 and I know those athletes so well. And I know that that training environment is great for me.” 

Cranny also wants Houlihan to rejoin BTC and said she can’t picture her former teammate anywhere else

“It feels like this is her family,” Cranny said. “I feel like everyone here is really supportive of her, really close friends with her. So I hope (she rejoins BTC). That’s something that we’ve definitely talked about as a team is wanting to work out with her again once the ban is up.”

When asked if she thinks she can still compete at the elite level once the ban is up, Houlihan said, “I guess that’s one thing that we’re just gonna have to find out.”

Houlihan is no longer a member of BTC nor being paid by Nike. She spent $250,000 in legal fees fighting her ban without any financial support from the Beaverton-based shoe and apparel giant.

“They said that they support me, and they believe in me, but as far as financially, I haven’t really received any support from them in that way,” Houlihan said.

Houlihan lost her six-figure professional contract with Nike and hasn’t had a paycheck in over a year. Her Nike deal also gave her the opportunity to earn performance-based bonuses on top of her base compensation, income that is also gone.

Houlihan’s mom called the entire process “an injustice” and said it wouldn’t make sense for her daughter to jeopardize her Nike contract by doping.

“Why would somebody with a contract that she had and the money that she was making, why would she cheat?” Connie said. “She had a contract (with Nike) through the (Tokyo and Paris) Olympics like, why would you cheat?” 

Houlihan said Nike hasn’t offered her a job, either.

“I’ve been doing some food delivery things like DoorDash and stuff, just to try to make a little money on the side, but yeah, just trying to get by.”

Houlihan continues to train but admits it is difficult.“It’s been really challenging, to be honest,” Houlihan said. 

As she trains alone, without her former coaches and teammates for support and motivation, Houlihan said she sometimes stops halfway through a workout or doesn’t always finish it at all. She finds it more difficult to hit her targeted times.

“I think it’s easy to do that when I’m having a great time and I’m having fun, and I’m finding joy in running,” Houlihan said. “But a lot of the things that make it fun aren’t really there for me right now.”

(09/16/2022) Views: 93 ⚡AMP
by David Veenstra (Cronkite News)
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ADHD and runners: can diet help with management?

As a sports nutritionist, I commonly counsel runners and other athletes who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder—generally referred to as ADHD (or ADD). ADHD is characterized by hyperactivity, impulsivity, and/or inattention. It affects 4-10% of all American children and an estimated 4.4% of adults (ages 18-44 years). ADHD usually peaks when kids are 7 or 8 years old. Some of the ADHD symptoms diminish with maturation but 65-85% of the kids with AHDH go on to become adults with ADHD.

      Ideally, runners with ADHD get the help they need to learn how to manage their time and impulsiveness. Unfortunately, many youth athletes with ADHD just receive a lot of negative feedback because they have difficulty learning rules and strategies. This frustrates teammates and coaches. Older athletes with ADHD often run to reduce their excess energy, calm their anxiety, and help them focus on the task at hand. This article offers nutrition suggestions that might help coaches, friends, and parents, as well as runners with ADHD, learn how to calm the annoying ADHD behaviors.  

• To date, no clear scientific evidence indicates ADHD is caused by diet, and no specific dietary regime has been identified that resolves ADHD. High quality ADHD research is hard to do because the added attention given to research subjects with ADHD (as opposed to the special diet) can encourage positive behavior changes. But we do know that when & what a person eats plays a significant role in ADHD management and is an important complimentary treatment in combination with medication.

• ADHD treatment commonly includes medications such as Concerta, Ritalin & Adderall. These medications may enhance sports performance by improving concentration, creating a sense of euphoria, and decreasing pain. These meds are banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Hence, runners who hope to compete at a high level are discouraged from taking ADHD medications

• To the detriment of ADHD runners, their meds quickly blunt the appetite. Hence, they (like all athletes) should eat a good breakfast before taking the medication.

• The medication-induced lack of appetite can thwart the scrawny teen runner who wants to gain weight and add muscle. Teens should be followed by their pediatricians, to be sure they stay on their expected growth path. If they fall behind, they could meet with a registered dietitian (RD) with knowledge of sports nutritionist (CSSD) to help them reach their weight goals.

• An easy way for “too thin” runners to boost calories is to swap water for milk (apart from during exercise). The ADHD athlete who does not feel hungry might find it easier to drink a beverage with calories than eat solid food. Milk (or milk-based protein shake or fruit smoothie) provides the fluid the athlete needs for hydration and simultaneously offers protein to help build muscles and stabilize blood glucose.

• A well-balanced diet is important for all runners, including those with ADHD. Everyone’s brain and body need nutrients to function well. No amount of vitamin pills can compensate for a lousy diet. Minimizing excess sugar, food additives, and artificial food dyes is good for everyone.

• Eating on a regular schedule is very important. All too often, high school runners with ADHD fall into the trap of eating too little at breakfast and lunch (due to meds), and then try to perform well during afterschool sports. An underfed brain gets restless, inattentive, and is less able to make good decisions. This can really undermine an athlete’s sports career

• Adults with ADHD can also fall into the same pattern of under-fueling by day, “forgetting” to eat lunch, then by late afternoon are hangry and in starvation mode. We all know what happens when any runner gets too hungry – impulsiveness, sugar cravings, too many treats, and fewer quality calories. This is a bad cycle for anyone and everyone.

• All runners should eat at least every four hours. The body needs fuel, even if the ADHD meds curb the desire to eat. ADHD runners can set a timer: breakfast at 7:00, first lunch at 11:00, second lunch at 3:00 (renaming snack as second lunch leads to higher-quality food), dinner at 7:00.

•For high school runners with ADHD, the second lunch can be split into fueling up pre-practice and refueling afterwards. This reduces the risk of arriving home starving and looking for (ultra-processed) foods that are crunchy, salty, and/or sweet.

• (Adult) runners with ADHD are often picky eaters and tend to prefer unhealthy snacks. For guidance on how to manage picky eating, click here for adults and here for kids.

• Fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can be lacking on an ADHD runner’s food list. Their low fiber diet can lead to constipation. Fiber also feeds the zillions of microbes in their digestive tract that produce chemicals that can positively impact brain function and behavior. Everyone with ADHD should eat more fiber-rich foods like beans (hummus, refried beans in a burrito), seeds (chia, pumpkin, sunflower, sesame), and whole grains (oatmeal, brown rice, popcorn). They offer not only fiber but also magnesium, known to calm nerves.

• With more research, we’ll learn if omega-3 fish oil supplements help manage the symptoms of ADHD. At least, eat salmon, tuna, and oily fish as often as possible, preferably twice a week, if not more.

•  Picky eaters who do not eat red meats, beans, or dark leafy greens can easily become iron deficient. Iron deficiency symptoms include interrupted sleep, fatigue, inattention, and poor learning and can aggravate ADHD. Iron deficiency is common among runners, especially females, and needs to be corrected with iron supplements.

• While sugar has the reputation of “ramping kids up”, the research is not conclusive about whether sugar itself triggers hyperactivity. The current thinking is the excitement of a party ramps kids up, more so than the sugary frosted cake. Yes, some runners are sugar-sensitive and know that sugar causes highs and crashes in their bodies. They should choose to limit their sugar intake and at least enjoy protein along with sweets, such as a glass of milk with the cookie, or eggs with a glazed donut. Moderation of sugar intake is likely more sustainable than elimination of all sugar-containing foods.

(08/27/2022) Views: 129 ⚡AMP
by Colorado Runner
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Kenyan runner Wambui banned for seven years over positive test and cover-up

Kenyan runner Tabitha Gichia Wambui has been banned from competition for seven years after testing positive for norandrosterone and tampering with the anti-doping process.

Wambui argued that she was injected with the testosterone booster at hospital where she was being treated for "a headache and general body weakness".

However, an investigation from the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya showed that the 37-year-old did not attend the hospital on the same dates as her medical reports stated and the hospital also had no record of the outpatient number on the documents the athlete submitted.

This attempted cover-up resulted in the tampering charge, which Wambui later admitted.

The athlete was banned for four years for the failed test and four for tampering, with one year removed from the overall sanction because Wambui was judged to have admitted the offences early and accepted the sanction.

The beginning of Wambui's ban is backdated to September 19 2021 and all of her results from that date have been disqualified, including victory at the Poznań Half Marathon in Poland on October 17 last year.

All titles, medals, points, prizes and appearance money must also be forfeited by the Kenyan from this period.

September 19 was the date that her first urine sample was taken, in-competition at the Copenhagen Half Marathon, before a second sample was collected at the race in Poland.

The following day, the WADA-accredited laboratory in Oslo reported an adverse analytical finding for norandrosterone in the first sample.

Norandrosterone is a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) non-specified substance as it is a product of nandrolone, an anabolic androgenic steroid.

Wambui's ban comes just a month after her compatriot Lawrence Cherono, the eighth-fastest marathon runner of all time, was banned from competing at the World Athletics Championships in the United States.

Cherono had tested positive for trimetazidine which can be used medically to prevent angina attacks.

It was also the same drug the Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva tested positive for before the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

Kenya is one of seven Category A nations deemed by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) to have the highest doping risk and threaten the overall integrity of the sport, along with Bahrain, Belarus, Ethiopia, Morocco, Nigeria and Ukraine.

There are currently 49 Kenyan athletes listed as banned in the AIU database.

(08/16/2022) Views: 179 ⚡AMP
by Owen Lloyd
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Caster Semenya unnoticed at World Championships The South African Olympic champion fails to advance in the 5,000 meters in Oregon – her first major international competition since 2017

How many times had South Africa’s Caster Semenya charged onto the Hayward Field homestretch seemingly in a different race than the rest of the pack, the sport’s most storied stadium rocking as Semenya raced into the deafening roar?

How many times had American track and field’s most knowledgeable fans, most passionate crowd stood in appreciation of the two-time Olympic, three-time World 800-meter champion?

On a scalding hot afternoon at the World Championships on Wednesday, Semenya labored through the final meters of her 5,000-meter heat in front of a half-empty stadium, largely ignored or unnoticed even in a place that calls itself Tracktown U.S.A.

Semenya, one of the most compelling and controversial athletes of her generation, has fallen so far off the sport’s radar since 2019 that the most well-known of her fellow competitors on Wednesday didn’t even realize she was in the competition.

“Caster?” asked Sifan Hassan, the Olympic 5,000 and 10,000 champion from the Netherlands, who ran in a later heat on Wednesday.

“Caster Semenya ran the 5,000?” Hassan asked again. “ I had no idea. I didn’t even know she was here. Did she make it?”

Semenya, running in her first major international competition since winning the 2017 Worlds 800 title, did not advance to the final, finishing 13th in her heat, running 15 minutes, 46.12 seconds, nearly a minute off the winning time of Gudaf Tsegay of Ethiopia (14:52.69).

“Cooking,” Semenya said after the race, referring to the heat. She declined to answer reporters’ questions.

Under different circumstances, the sport would be obsessing over the prospect of a showdown between Semenya, 31, and Athing Mu, the 20-year-old Olympic champion from the U.S. in Sunday’s 800 final and whether the pair could challenge the world record of 1:53.28 that was set by Czechoslovakia’s Jarmila Kratochvilova in 1983.

Instead, Semenya, who was assigned female at birth, raised as a girl and identifies as a woman has not raced the 800 in meets sanctioned by World Athletics, the sport’s international governing body, because of her refusal to submit to the organization’s guidelines regarding intersex athletes.

Under the World Athletics guidelines athletes in events from the 400 to the mile – in other words, Semenya’s events – are required to take hormone suppressing drugs to reduce their testosterone to below 5 nanomoles per liter for at least six months before being allowed to compete internationally.

Semenya has an intersex condition called Differences in Sexual Development (DSD) or 46, XY that because of differences in sex development that causes male and female traits and a testosterone level higher than the typical female range. She is not transgender.

“I am a woman and I am a world-class athlete,” Semenya said in 2019, shortly before the Prefontaine Classic, her final 800. “The IAAF will not drug me or stop me from being who I am.”

Semenya had found herself unwittingly in the center of controversy almost from the moment she emerged on the world stage a decade earlier.

She won her first Worlds title in 2009 as an 18-year-old, a victory that prompted Russia’s Mariya Savinova to suggest the South African was a man.

“Just look at her,” Savinova said.

While the results of Semenya’s sex test were supposed to be confidential they were leaked to Australia’s Daily Telegraph. Semenya has internal testes but no ovaries or womb, the newspaper reported quoting the test report.

“She is a woman, but maybe not 100 percent,” IAAF secretary general Pierre Weiss said at the time, doing nothing to discourage the headline writers at New York’s Daily News who blared that the World champion “is a woman … and a man.”

Semenya began taking a hormone suppressant drug. She finished second to Savinova at both the 2011 Worlds and 2012 Olympics.

“The IAAF used me in the past as a human guinea pig to experiment with how the medication they required me to take would affect my testosterone levels,” she said in 2019. “Even though the hormonal drugs made me feel constantly sick the IAAF now wants to enforce even stricter thresholds with unknown health consequences.

“I will not allow the IAAF to use me and my body again. But I am concerned that other female athletes will feel compelled to let the IAAF drug them and test the effectiveness and negative health effects of different hormonal drugs. This cannot be allowed to happen.”

Semenya was awarded the 2012 Olympic gold medal in 2017, two years after the World Anti-Doping Agency recommended that Savinova receive a lifetime ban for doping and her results dating to July 2010 be disqualified.

Given the event’s suspect history, the irony of World Athletics now demanding she dope to level the playing field is not lost on Semenya.

“I’m not going to do that,” she told the Orange County Register after the 2019 Prefontaine meet. “I’m a very clean athlete. I believe in the clean sport. I believe in the equal opportunities. At the end of the day, this is a woman’s sport, this is a man’s sport. If they’re going come (at) me with that nonsense then why do you lead?”

Semenya challenged World Athletics guidelines with the Court of Arbitration for Sport. A three-member CAS panel in June 2019 said the World Athletics policy was “discriminatory” toward athletes with DSD but two of the panel members, nevertheless agreed with the World Athletics that policy was “necessary, reasonable and proportionate” to counter advantages DSD athletes have over other female competitors. Semenya and other female athletes with DSD should be considered “biological males” World Athletics told CAS.

Switzerland’s Supreme Court rejected Semenya’s appeal in September 2020. She filed an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights in February 2021.

While Semenya fell short in her bid to reach the Olympic 200-meter qualifying standard last year, the success of other intersex athletes has raised further questions about the World Athletics policy.

(07/21/2022) Views: 176 ⚡AMP
by Scott Reid
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World Athletics Championships Oregon22

World Athletics Championships Oregon22

The World Athletics Championships was held in the United States for the first time ever. WCH Oregon22 was an unmissable global experience, and it took place in the United States for the very first time. The best track and field athletes in the world came together in a celebration of diversity, human potential, and athletic achievement. This extraordinary showcase took...

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Olympic 800m medalist Nijel Amos suspended for doping

The third fastest 800m runner of all time, Botswana’s Nijel Amos has been provisionally suspended ahead of this week’s World Championships, after the 2012 Olympic silver medallist tested positive for a banned metabolite, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) said on Tuesday.

The drug found in the 28-year-old’s system was GW1516, which modifies how the body metabolizes fat, and which can boost endurance. An AIU press release said that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has also warned that it poses a health risk to athletes.

GW1516 was originally developed to treat obesity and diabetes, but is not approved for human use, since it was discovered to be carcinogenic. It is banned in and out of competition, and not eligible for Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE). A USADA bulletin from 2019 says GW1516 is also sometimes known as cardarine or endurobol and has been found in some supplements, even though it is illegal. In 2017, there were 31 sanctions worldwide related to its use. 

The AIU collected the sample from Amos during an out-of-competition test on June 4. Amos was notified of the result while he was preparing for the World Championships in Eugene, Ore., where he was scheduled to compete in the heats of the 800m on July 20. He finished eighth in the 800m final at Tokyo 2020. At Rio in 2016, he failed to make it out of the heats.

Amos’s silver in the 800m from the London Olympics was Botswana’s first Olympic medal and ranks as the third-fastest 800m time ever (1:41.73) behind Kenya’s David Rudisha (1:40.91) and Wilson Kipketer (1:41.11).

Amos has spent his last six seasons training with Mark Rowland and the Nike Oregon Track Club. Rowland recently left the club to start a new role as a coach with the Athletics Canada West Hub.

The AIU says the length of his suspension will be determined at a later date.

(07/13/2022) Views: 186 ⚡AMP
by Marley Dickinson
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Molly Seidel Out, Keira D’Amato in for World Championships Marathon

Seidel said last month she had sought a therapeutic use exemption for Adderall, which is banned in competition. 

Keira D’Amato, the American record holder in the marathon, was named to Team USA for the World Championships today, replacing Molly Seidel, according to multiple sources. 

The women’s marathon at the World Championships, to be held in Eugene, Oregon, is on July 18. 

Seidel, who won Olympic bronze last year in Sapporo, Japan, was named to the U.S. squad for the marathon based on that performance. But a hip impingement caused her to drop out of the Boston Marathon in April. 

On June 8, Seidel, 27, posted to her Instagram account that she had been taking Adderall for ADHD since Boston. Adderall is banned for in-competition use by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Seidel wrote that taking the medication was “life changing,” and she was able to “get the quiet, functioning brain in my day-to-day life that I could previously only achieve with intense physical activity.” 

Seidel had applied to WADA for a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) to be able to take the medication when she was competing, but it had not been granted before the New York Mini 10K—and it wasn’t clear if it would be granted—so she withdrew. 

The reason why her spot is going to D’Amato is not clear, and Runner’s World sought clarification from Seidel, her coach, and her agent. 

D’Amato, 37, has less than three weeks to prepare for a marathon, but she “is in great shape,” according to her agent, Ray Flynn. She ran 2:19:12 in setting the American marathon record in January in Houston. 

She won the BAA 10K last Sunday on a hot day in 31:17. Her Strava training shows she did an 18-miler on June 27 and has been averaging 73 miles per week for the last four weeks. She’s also been racing frequently, finishing third at the New York Mini on June 11. 

On June 21, Runner’s World asked D’Amato if, in light of Seidel’s post, she was doing marathon training and was told she was an alternate for the Worlds team. “No one has contacted me,” she said at that time. 

Emma Bates and Sara Hall are the other two American women in the World Championships marathon. Galen Rupp, Elkanah Kibet, and Colin Mickow are the men. 

USA Track & Field usually names its World Championships marathoners based on a descending order time list. But given many marathons were canceled or postponed in 2021, it announced it would pick top 10 finishers from the Games (Seidel and Rupp) and then top finishers from the Chicago, Boston, and New York City marathons last fall. That decision was controversial because the selection criteria were announced in October after the Chicago and Boston marathons had already taken place. 

(07/02/2022) Views: 154 ⚡AMP
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What Are therapeutic use exemptions and Why Are They Controversial?

Athletes such as Molly Seidel, who was recently diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed Adderall, must receive exemptions from doping agencies in order to use medications that are banned.

Olympic bronze medalist Molly Seidel announced on Instagram on June 8 that she’d be missing the New York Mini 10K last weekend.  The reason? She’d been diagnosed with ADHD early in 2022, and after the Boston Marathon, she started taking the prescription drug Adderall.

Adderall is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for use in competition, because it can be used as a performance enhancer. But Seidel has a legitimate medical need for the drug, so she can apply for a therapeutic use exemption, commonly known as a TUE. 

Seidel wrote on Instagram that she applied for a TUE about six weeks ago, and she won’t have an answer on her application until the end of June at the earliest.

Since she started taking Adderall, she had been feeling much better. “I felt like I was able to get the quiet, functioning brain in my day-to-day life that I could previously only achieve with intense physical activity,” she wrote. “It also gave me remission of many eating disorders behaviors that I’ve dealt with consistently since my teens.” 

She was disappointed to pull out of the New York Mini 10K.   Seidel wrote, especially after she has had a tough few months. (She dropped out of the Boston Marathon in April with a hip impingement at about the 16-mile mark.) 

“However, I’m committed to a clean sport and respecting my own mental health needs, so that means following the appropriate procedures of this TUE process,” she wrote. “Mental health takes work, and I want to be transparent about the fact that medication is sometimes a very necessary part of that work.”

Seidel is due to run the World Championships marathon in Eugene on July 18.

Her case illustrates a years-long debate among athletes, coaches, and officials about TUEs. At issue: How can the sport allow its athletes to legally obtain treatment for diagnosed medical conditions while preventing others from abusing the system?

Below, we answer a few common questions about TUEs.

What is a therapeutic use exemption (TUE)?

When an athlete is sick or has a condition that requires treatment with medicine that is listed on WADA’s prohibited substance list, he or she can be granted a TUE to take the drug, according to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

Some drugs are prohibited when an athlete is competing. Other drugs are also banned for out-of-competition use. If a TUE is approved, it usually has a starting and ending date during which the athlete may take the medication. If the athlete is drug tested during that period and tests positive for an illegal substance for which they are granted an exemption, he or she will not face disciplinary measures.

In an emergency situation, if somebody is treated with a prohibited substance, he or she is allowed to file an emergency TUE afterward, as soon as possible. For example, when Shalane Flanagan received an IV for severe dehydration in February after the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials, which is otherwise a banned practice, she was granted an exemption because she was in medical need.

“I resisted getting an IV but a lot of the doctors there were insisting that I needed it,” Flanagan said, weeks after the race. “It would have taken a really long time to get those fluids in orally. So the IV really speeded up my recovery. It actually made me realize probably why they are illegal [in competition] under most circumstances—my core temperature immediately went down. If I hadn’t had that, I would have had a much longer process.”

How does an athlete get a TUE?

U.S. athletes apply for a TUE through USADA, though if somebody is also competing at an international event, it may require that person to obtain another exemption through World Athletics, the governing body for track and field.

“The TUE application process is thorough and designed to balance the need to provide athletes access to critical medication while protecting the rights of clean athletes to compete on a level playing field,” according to USADA.

If a pro runner is in need of a TUE, he or she downloads the application and completes it with a doctor. A medical file must accompany the application.

Who decides if the athlete gets a TUE?

The Therapeutic Use Exemption Committee reviews the application, the medical details, the patient history, test results, how the condition has been managed over time, and attempts to treat it with non-prohibited medications and methods. Galen Rupp, for example, has been granted exemptions to take prednisone to treat asthma.

The committee includes doctors and medical experts, according to USADA. They review and either approve or deny the application without knowing the athlete’s name by following WADA’s standards, outlined in an annual 30-page document.

WADA policy states that athlete must prove that the prohibited substance is needed to treat an acute or chronic medical condition, “such that the athlete would experience a significant impairment to health” if it is withheld; that the medication is highly unlikely to produce any enhancement of performance beyond what would be considered “anticipated” by a return to the individual’s normal health; and that there is no reasonable alternative to treat the condition.

What is on the WADA prohibited substance list?

The prohibited list includes more than 300 substances and methods of taking substances (for example, orally, by injection, intravenously). It also includes those that are always prohibited and those that are only prohibited during a competition. The lists are updated by WADA each year, and it’s up to the athletes to be aware of changes of the rules.

Some examples of prohibited substances include steroids, human growth hormone, certain stimulants, diuretics, and masking agents that can interfere with drug tests. 

How could an athlete use TUE system or prescription drugs to cheat?

Athletes at the highest level are constantly searching for fractions of percentages in performance gain. Some, of course, seek such gains illegally. Should that athlete have a support team of coaches and doctors who also engage in unethical practices, they can collectively seek exemptions for medications that are not medically needed but could produce a competitive advantage.

In July 2015, Rupp and his coach Alberto Salazar were accused by former members of the Oregon Project of manipulating the TUE system for performance gain and faking symptoms in an effort to be prescribed legal thyroid medications. Those medications could help with a runner’s energy levels, allowing an athlete to train with more intensity and volume. Rupp and Salazar have strongly denied those accusations. Salazar has since received a four-year ban for trafficking performance-enhancing drugs to his athletes and in a separate matter, he has been banned permanently from track by SafeSport. 

(06/17/2022) Views: 143 ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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Kenyan long-distance runner Joyce Chepkirui has been banned for four years

The 33-year-old won the 10,000m at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014 and also took the African title over the same distance in Marrakech that year.

Chepkirui has been provisionally suspended since June 2019, after an expert panel studied anomalies in blood samples collected by World Athletics between 2016 and 2017.

The panel concluded the "likelihood of the abnormalities in results being due to blood manipulation" - the artificial increase of red blood cells using a stimulant - was "high".

Chepkirui explained the results by saying she suffered from hormone imbalance and vaginal bleeding, which was caused by a contraceptive injected every three months, had an iron-rich diet and took three drugs to treat these conditions.

However, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) decided to ban Chepkirui after upholding an appeal filed by the Athletics Integrity Unit, and her four-year period of ineligibility has been backdated to the start of her provisional suspension.

Chepkirui's results between 6 April 2016 and 4 August 2017 - which include a third-placed finish in the Boston Marathon in April 2016 - will be disqualified and she will be required to forfeit any medals, prizes and appearance fees gained in that time.

Meanwhile, Cas have ruled the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya should pay 2,000 Swiss Francs (US$2,140) to World Athletics as a contribution towards its legal costs and other expenses.

Kenya is still listed as a category A nation by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada), meaning the country remains a high risk for doping.

As a result, Kenyan athletes still need to undergo three out of competition tests in a 10-month period before a World Championships or Olympic Games.

BBC Sport Africa understands Athletics Kenya had been hoping to be removed from the category A classification.

(04/13/2022) Views: 301 ⚡AMP
by BBC sports
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Paris Marathon champion Paul Lonyangata has been banned for 19 months and Edward Kiprop Kibet has received a 3-year suspension

Two prominent Kenyan marathoners have been suspended from competition on doping charges, according to a report by Capital Sports. The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has banned Paul Lonyangata for 19 months for use of the drug Furosemide, and Edward Kiprop Kibet has been banned for three years for nandrolone.

Lonyangata won the Paris Marathon in 2017 and 2018, and was the third-place finisher in 2019. One week after the 2019 race, he admitted to using the banned substance Furosemide, after it was found in an out-of-competition sample in September.

Furosemide is a heart medication, but it is on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) list of prohibited substances because it can mask the presence of performance-enhancing drugs.

Lonyangata rose to fame in 2017, not only because he won the Paris Marathon, but because his wife, Purity Rionoripo, won the women’s race on the same day.

Lonyangata will be banned from competition until May 25, 2023. His fellow countryman, Kibet, will be banned from all competition until February 2025, after testing positive for nandrolone, the same substance found in Shelby Houlihan’s sample last year, for which she was given a four-year ban.

(03/08/2022) Views: 312 ⚡AMP
by Brittany Hambleton
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UTMB bans painkillers at all events including ibuprofen, before or during any UTMB races

The organizers of the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) World Series will be banning the use of painkillers within 24 hours and during all races. This includes all non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen. The announcement was made after the UTMB’s Quartz Event health program carried out post-event drug tests for the first time this year and three athletes’ samples contained NSAIDs.

The Quartz Event health program was set up in 2008 to protect the health of participants and contribute to clean sport. The rules of the program align with the banned substance list set out by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) but goes a couple of steps further. Under the Quartz medical rules, athletes must not compete in any race if they have violated any of the following regulations:

Within 60 days before the start of the competition and during the competition: 

Intravenous iron infusions

Within 7 days before the start of the competition and during the competition:

Intravenous infusion

Gas inhalation

Substance subject to a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) according to the WADA Prohibited List

All glucocorticoids regardless of the mode of administration

Thyroid synthesis hormones except in case of partial or total removal of the thyroid or hypothyroidism of medical origin.

Within 24 hours before the start of the competition and during the competition:

All beta-2-agonists regardless of the mode of administration

All painkillers including Tramadol and Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) regardless of the mode of administration

All substances included in the WADA Monitoring Program

After the 2021 UTMB final, three athletes out of 30 who were tested had NSAIDs in their samples. The organizers did not disqualify the athletes because the rules were only implemented this year, it was their first violation and there was an assumed lack of knowledge of the new regulations. Moving forward, however, all races will be employing the Quartz Event program and any athletes found in violation of the rules will be automatically disqualified.

Why are painkillers being banned?

According to Doctor Patrick Basset, the medical director of Dokever, the company that manages the medical teams at all UTMB events, these regulations have been put in place to protect athletes from the dangers of self-medicating. “the most frequent type of self-medication seen is to treat two types of symptoms: osteoarticular pain and digestive problems,” he explains on the UTMB website. “As a consequence, the main medicines concerned are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID), anti-diarrhea or anti-vomiting medicines.”

He continues to explain that in the context of a long-lasting endurance race, taking anti-inflammatories could be toxic to the kidneys and cause rhabdomyolysis, which is the excessive breakdown of muscle tissue to dangerous levels, potentially leading to renal insufficiency. This is even more likely to happen when combined with dehydration, hypoxia (lack of oxygen) and hypotension (a drop in blood pressure).

Many athletes are criticizing the ban as going too far since the Quartz program refers to these new rules as “legal doping,” and NSAIDs are not banned by WADA.

(09/23/2021) Views: 504 ⚡AMP
by Brittany Hambleton
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North Face Ultra Trail du Tour du Mont-Blanc

North Face Ultra Trail du Tour du Mont-Blanc

Mountain race, with numerous passages in high altitude (>2500m), in difficult weather conditions (night, wind, cold, rain or snow), that needs a very good training, adapted equipment and a real capacity of personal autonomy. It is 6:00pm and we are more or less 2300 people sharing the same dream carefully prepared over many months. Despite the incredible difficulty, we feel...

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Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare loses appeal, begins four-year ban over banned drugs, but she may return before Paris 2024 Olympics

Blessing Okagbare, may have lost her battle to upturn the suspension placed on her by World Athletics (WA) after failing an out-of-competition test.

The U.S.-based sprinter was thrown out of the Tokyo Olympics Games on the eve of the semifinals of the women’s 100m after testing positive for human growth hormone. The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) revealed then that Okagbare failed an out-of-competition test taken on July 19. She appealed against the suspension immediately, insisting on seeing the result of her B Sample.

The Guardian learnt yesterday that Okagbare, a medallist at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, was allegedly handed four-year ban after the result of her B Sample came out with the same result.

“Okagbare started her four-year ban long ago,” a source close to World Athletics (WA) said in a chat with The Guardian. “It is just unfortunate Blessing Okagbare found herself in this mess. When the result of her A Sample came out, Okagbare had the option of accepting it, which could have seen her ban reduced to two or three years, but she insisted on her B Sample. I pity her though, but WA wants all athletes to compete and win clean. Okagbare’s ban may elapse before the Paris 2024 Olympics,” the official stated.

Okagbare had won her heat on Friday (July 30), and was meant to compete in the women’s 100 metres semifinals the next day, when the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) officially announced her suspension in the morning.

The AIU explained then that the Growth Hormone is a non-specified substance on the 2021 World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) prohibited list, and a provisional suspension on Okagbare was mandatory following an adverse analytical finding for such substance under the World Athletics anti-doping rules.

“The WADA-accredited laboratory that analysed the sample notified the AIU of the adverse analytical finding at midday Central European Time on Friday, July 30.

“The athlete was notified of the adverse analytical finding and of her provisional suspension this morning in Tokyo.”

Efforts to speak with Blessing Okagbare were unsuccessful yesterday.

(09/16/2021) Views: 337 ⚡AMP
by Gowon Akpodonor
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Sha'Carri Richardson to make track return at Prefontaine Classic

Sha'Carri Richardson will make her return to competitive athletics action on Saturday (August 21) at the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League meeting in Eugene, Oregon, USA.

The American is back after serving a one-month suspension handed to her when she tested positive for a cannabinoid at the U.S. Olympic Trials in June, where she had originally won the women's 100m race.

Her return will pit the world's third-fastest woman this year against the three Olympic medalists from Tokyo – Elaine Thompson-Herah, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and Shericka Jackson, all from Jamaica.

On July 1, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced that Richardson had accepted being suspended for "for an anti-doping rule violation for testing positive for a substance of abuse", having previously received a provisional ban on 28 June.

While competing at the Trials, Richardson provided a sample on 19 June that returned a positive test for a chemical found in marijuana, THC.

THC is a banned substance in-competition, although it is not prohibited out of competition, under World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) rules which classify it as a substance of abuse.

Although Richardson consumed the drug out of competition, she returned an in-competition positive and was therefore sanctioned under USADA's own regulations, which state: "If an athlete tests positive for a substance of abuse during an in-competition test, but the athlete can establish that they used the substance out-of-competition and that their use of the substance was unrelated to sport performance, then the athlete’s period of ineligibility will be reduced to three months with no need to further analyse the degree of fault."

USADA added in handing out a one-month suspension: "Richardson’s period of ineligibility was reduced to one month because her use of cannabis occurred out of competition and was unrelated to sport performance, and because she successfully completed a counselling program regarding her use of cannabis."

The sanction meant her qualifying results at the trials were expunged.

Her suspension ended before the start of the athletics program at Tokyo 2020, but as USA Track & Field (USATF) selects its Olympic team based solely on results at Trials, Richardson was not considered for selection in either the 100m or 4x100m relay.

In Eugene, which was also the site of the U.S. Trials where Richardson had run 10.86 in the final, she and the three Tokyo 2020 medallists headline a world-class field in the women's 100m.

That start-list includes Tokyo relay silver medallists Teahna Daniels and Javianne Oliver of the USA and two other 100m finalists Switzerland's Mujinga Kambundji (6th) and Marie-Josée Ta Lou (4th) of Côte d'Ivoire. Briana Williams, the fourth member of the Jamaican 4x100m gold-winning relay team, completes the lineup.

Richardson ran a 10.72 at the Miramar Invitational in Florida in April, a time that made the 21-year-old the sixth-fastest woman ever over 100m and, at the time the world leader in 2021.

Since then this year, only two other women have gone faster – Richardson is surpassed by Fraser-Pryce (10.63 in June) and Thompson-Herah's Olympic record 10.61.

The clash between the young American talent and the Olympic medallists is tantalising after they were unable to race each other in Tokyo.

Indeed, the five fastest women this year will all be competing in the race – Jackson and Ta Lou are fourth and fifth respectively.

Richardson's last international 100m race was at a rainy Gateshead Diamond League in England in May, when she finished second in 11.44 seconds into a very strong headwind (-3.1 m/s). Earlier that month, the Texan sprinter also overcame a headwind to clock a rapid 10.77 (-1.2 m/s) at the USATF Golden Games.

The American is also down to race the women's 200m against the likes of Kambundji, Ta Lou, Olympic bronze medallist Gabrielle Thomas, relay silver medallist Jenna Prandini, world champion Dina Asher-Smith, and American track legend Allyson Felix.

(08/20/2021) Views: 622 ⚡AMP
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Prefontaine Classic

Prefontaine Classic

The Pre Classic, part of the Diamond League series of international meets featuring Olympic-level athletes, is scheduled to be held at the new Hayward Field in Eugene. The Prefontaine Classicis the longest-running outdoor invitational track & field meet in America and is part of the elite Wanda Diamond League of meets held worldwide annually. The Pre Classic’s results score has...

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The Unbelievable True Story of the Craziest Olympic Marathon-Only 14 men crossed the finish: one after hitchhiking, one after napping, and one—the winner—after drinking rat poison.

On a broiling, 90-degree August afternoon in 1904, 32 men dressed largely in white with leather belts gathered at Francis Olympic Field, a newly constructed stadium in St. Louis. Flanked by other men in suits and porkpie hats, they were about to compete in what would become the most infamous marathon in history. The event was part of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, also known as the 1904 World’s Fair. Within the crowd of dapper onlookers was the man in whose honor the stadium was named: David R. Francis, a former Missouri governor and president of the organizing committee for the Olympic Games. At 3:03 p.m. he fired the starting gun; so began the first Olympic marathon race on U.S. soil.

The race started with five laps around the track and a flurry of lead changes. Among the cast of largely American runners were three previous Boston Marathon winners. None of them would finish. In fact, only 14 men eventually completed the race: one after hitchhiking, one after taking a nap, and one—the eventual gold medalist—after drinking strychnine mixed with raw egg and brandy. Not only would the percentage of finishers rank as the lowest of any Olympic marathon, but the event itself would be marred by the racism that pervaded and even guided the 1904 Olympics and World’s Fair.

Frank Pierce from the Seneca Nation—the first Native American to compete in the Olympics—briefly took to the front. Pierce was followed closely by fellow Americans Arthur Newton, Thomas Hicks, and Sam Mellor. 

As the men made the third lap, another American, Fred Lorz, took a turn in the lead. Lorz, a bricklayer by trade, had the muscular build of a sprinter but had finished in the top five at the previous two Boston Marathons. Close behind, the race claimed its first casualty: The 1903 Boston champ, John Lordan, Irish-born but running for the United States, began vomiting and walked off the track to register the first DNF. 

Hicks, who’d finished second behind Lordan at Boston that previous year, passed Lorz to lead racers out of the stadium. Hicks purportedly made his living as a professional clown. Yet in the few surviving pictures of the race, Hicks appears to be the most serious man in St. Louis, standing uncomfortably straight at the start line with a near scowl.

Striding onto the dirt roads beyond Francis Field, the runners were greeted by red flags marking the route. The man responsible for those flags, along with much of the 1904 St. Louis Olympics, was James E. Sullivan, head of the Physical Culture Department for the World’s Fair. Sullivan intended to use the Games to showcase white American excellence through a series of events that ranged from the poorly executed, like the marathon, to the cartoonishly racist, like the fair’s Anthropology Days—a two-day Olympic-style competition during which nonwhite performers from the fair’s living anthropology displays competed in sports they’d never played before. The idea was to flaunt their athletic inferiority to the world. A headline in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “Barbarians meet in Athletic Games,” made no bones about that intention.

Sullivan also designed the 24.85-mile race (26.2 became the standard in 1921) as an experiment to test his own exercise science theories. Chief among his beliefs was that of “purposeful dehydration.” Following the conventional wisdom of the time, Sullivan insisted that drinking (or eating) during exercise would only upset the stomach. Accordingly, there was only one water station on the course, near mile 12.

Three miles in, Newton, who’d won bronze just a day before in the steeplechase, held fifth, the same as his finishing position at the 1900 Olympic marathon. Hicks, the professional clown, fell back to seventh. And Albert Corey, a French-born, U.S.-representing marathoner who lived in Chicago and worked at a slaughterhouse, ran in ninth place. 

Trailing close behind were Len Taunyane and Jan Mashiani, both running their first marathon. The two members of South Africa’s Tswana tribe were the first Black Africans to compete in the Olympics. In fact, they were the only Black athletes to represent that nation until the end of apartheid 86 years later. Taunyane and Mashiani had no formal racing experience and were in St. Louis performing in the World’s Fair’s Boer War Exhibition. Taunyane and Mashiani had been message runners for the Boers and were part of a cast of hundreds that twice a day reenacted battles from the recent Second Boer War, between Dutch colonist Boers and the British Empire, in front of thousands of spectators. 

Leading the way out of the stadium was a vanguard of horsemen, riding ahead of the racers to clear the dry dirt roads. Right behind them, a motorcade of journalists, doctors, support teams, and race officials followed, producing a steady brown cloud that enveloped the runners for most of the course.

At six miles Newton led, with 1902 Boston champ Sam Mellor in pursuit on the dusty road. Behind them were Lorz and Félix Carvajal, a Cuban mailman who’d arrived at the race in a long-sleeve shirt, hat, pants, heavy shoes, and a notable mustache. (A helpful Samaritan assisted Carvajal in cutting his pants into shorts prior to the start of the race.) Carvajal had raised the money for his journey to America by running exhibitions in his native Cuba, but after gambling away his funds on a layover in New Orleans, he’d hitchhiked the rest of the way to St. Louis. Carvajal was among the favorites to win; however, he was also a loquacious man, frequently stopping for mid-competition banter with spectators.

Approaching the 10-mile marker, Fred Lorz, plagued by muscle cramps, flagged down a car (likely that of his coach) for a ride back to Francis Field. Carvajal also stopped, but to find a snack. According to some accounts, Carvajal ate rotten apples from an orchard along the road. One writer observed Carvajal playfully swiping peaches from spectators after they’d denied his request for fruit. Either way, Carvajal suffered from stomach cramps and lay down to take a short nap. 

At mile 12, the racers encountered the well that served as the lone water station. Sullivan had intended to test purposeful dehydration in the race by observing how athletes would perform in high-intensity work, on a hot summer day, with a limited amount of water available to drink. 

Undeterred by the fact that fewer than half of his marathoners finished, he’d later write a book, 1909’s Marathon Running, which reiterated his continued belief in the power of water abstinence. “Don’t get into the habit of drinking and eating in a marathon race; some prominent runners do, but it is not beneficial,” he wrote. 

Halfway through the marathon, Mellor was leading, with Newton and Hicks, respectively, in second and third place. Mellor had been the pre-race favorite. In addition to his Boston win, he’d podiumed there in 1901 and 1903, and he’d won the Pan American Exposition marathon in 1901, in 104-degree heat. But this time, Mellor’s pace slowed by mile 16 to combat cramping. By another account, he incorrectly believed he’d taken a wrong turn and tired himself out running backward on the course. In any case, he soon dropped out of the race. Hicks took the lead, with Newton trailing.

Hicks, now beyond the water station, began to grow desperately thirsty. He had two trainers following in a car, and he began to beg them for a drink of water. They refused, and instead gave his mouth and shoulders a sponge bath in an attempt to relieve the thirst without hydrating their athlete. 

Near mile 19, William Garcia, a racer out of San Francisco who was in fourth place at the time, collapsed. He likely experienced the closest brush with death of any marathoner that day. On the side of the road, he began coughing up blood and passed out before being discovered and taken to a hospital. The combination of heat, dehydration, and roughly two hours of running through dust clouds landed Garcia in surgery for a dust-lined esophagus and a torn stomach lining. 

Lorz, meanwhile, was feeling refreshed after riding in a car for 11 miles after his cramping episode. He decided to continue the last miles on foot, into the stadium, and across the finish line to claim victory in under three hours. Just as First Daughter Alice Roosevelt Longworth was crowning Lorz as the victor, a spectator revealed that Lorz had been driven along the course. Lorz defended his victory as merely a joke, but the stunt earned him a lifetime ban. 

As Lorz was explaining himself away, Hicks held the lead with roughly four miles remaining, but he continued to suffer from dehydration. His trainers, making history, decided to give him something stronger than a damp sponge. In the first recorded instance of performance-enhancing drug use in the Olympics, Hicks was fed a combination of egg whites and 1 milligram of strychnine sulfate. In high doses, this compound is used as rat poison. At lower doses, however, it is a stimulant and currently prohibited for in-competition use by the World Anti-Doping Agency. 

A ghastly Hicks continued, but his already mechanical form deteriorated and his pace slowed as he stopped to walk up a hill two miles from the finish. This earned Hicks a second dose of the strychnine mixture, plus a swig of brandy. It worked: Hicks picked up his pace to finish in 3:28. It was the slowest winning marathon time in Olympic history—by a 30-minute margin. 

Albert Corey finished second at 3 hours and 34 minutes, and 13 minutes later Newton took third place. Carvajal’s recovery nap delivered him to fourth place, while Len Taunyane (despite being chased a mile off course by a dog) took ninth and Mashiani was 12th. After the podium, no finish times were recorded (or they were lost), but finishers trickled in for hours.

Sullivan and his kind claimed the marathon as the evidence of racial superiority they sought—despite producing an event that was almost entirely stocked with white runners, many with coaches in tow. Charles J. P. Lucas, a physician and writer who traveled by car observing and assisting Hicks, wrote in his blandly titled book The Olympic Games 1904 that the marathon established “the stamina of the Caucasian race and the superior distance-running powers.” His book did not mention that while Taunyane and Mashiani finished ninth and 12th, their white South African teammate, Bertie Harris, never made it back to Francis Field.

The infamy of the race, however, set in quickly. Two days after its running, the Post-Dispatch dubbed it a “man-killing event” and reported that Olympic committee members were calling for its removal from future Games. Sullivan jumped on the bandwagon and quickly turned on the event, publicly decrying it and telling the paper “a 25-mile run...is asking too much of human endurance.”

Sullivan’s bid to end the Olympic marathon failed, and the event continued at the 1908 London Games—notably with only one 1904 competitor returning, mid-packer Sidney Hatch. Sullivan did have one perverse victory in 1908, though. In addition to being a white supremacist, he was also an outspoken misogynist, and as the head of the U.S. Olympic Committee he was able to bar American women from competing in London. But that was cold comfort for his racist side: To his chagrin, 1908 would also mark the first Olympic gold medal awarded to a Black athlete, John Taylor, who ran on the winning U.S. distance medley relay squad.

Hicks would never run another marathon. Like many of the athletes, including Taunyane and Mashiani, he practically disappeared from recorded history after the race. Corey returned to Chicago, racing annually in an early iteration of the Chicago Marathon and winning in 1908. Newton would compete in his third event of the Games four days later, taking gold in a four-mile team race that fielded just two teams. (Corey claimed another silver on the losing squad.) And Lorz’s lifetime ban would last less than a year—he later won the 1905 Boston Marathon.

Carvajal continued to travel for marathons. In 1905 he returned to St. Louis to take third in the inaugural All-Western Marathon. The following year, the Cuban government sent him to Greece for an Olympics-adjacent marathon only for Carvajal to disappear en route in Italy. After being presumed dead, complete with newspaper obituaries, he reappeared in Havana several months later and resumed racing. 

 

(08/08/2021) Views: 435 ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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Ban on cannabis, should be reviewed says World Athletics president Seb Coe

The rules on the use of cannabis by athletes should be reviewed, World Athletics President Sebastian Coe has said in the wake of the case that meant Sha'Carri Richardson, winner of the women’s 100 meters at the US Olympic trials, missing Tokyo 2020.

Richardson accepted a 30-day ban, and the qualifying results she achieved were annulled, after she tested positive for the banned recreational drug during the trials.

The 21-year-old said she had been under emotional stress after learning of the recent death of her biological mother.

In response to questions on the issue, Coe has said a review is now sensible and "it should be" done, Reuters reports.

Coe added: "I am sorry for her that we have lost an outstanding talent [from the Olympic Games]", but said that existing rules were interpreted correctly.

The World Athletics President said he had asked the independent Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) to work with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on reassessing marijuana’s place on the prohibited list.

Coe, who believes the matter is a question for experts at the AIU and the WADA to determine, said Richardson’s absence was "a loss to the competition" but predicted "she will bounce back".

The 2021 World Anti-Doping Code classifies tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive constituent of cannabis, marijuana, and hashish, as a "Substance of Abuse".

Athletes found to use it outside of competition face a three-month ban, although in this case the United States Anti-Doping Agency banned Richardson for 30 days as long as she also undertook a treatment programme.

Discussion on this matter is not expected to take place during the World Athletics Council’s two-day meeting that starts tomorrow before the Olympic track and field programme begins on Friday (July 30) - at least officially.

What will be under consideration is a determination of the hosts for the 2023 World Athletics Relays, held this year in Poland, the newly-established 2023 World Road Running Championships, and next year’s World Race Walking Team Championships, where a replacement is being sought for original host Minsk.

World Athletics cited "uncertainties around diplomatic relations and international travel restrictions with regard to Belarus" when stripping Minsk of hosting rights earlier this year, with protests continuing after the controversial re-election Alexander Lukashenko as the country’s President last August and many nations imposing sanctions on Belarus.

There will also be a report from World Athletics' Russia Taskforce at the Council meeting.

Day two of the meeting is understood to involve commission and working group reports.

(07/27/2021) Views: 406 ⚡AMP
by Mike Rowbottom
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World 1500m champion added to Kenyan Olympic team as 18-year-old dropped

World 1500 meters champion Timothy Cheruiyot, left out of the Kenyan Olympic team after finishing outside the top three qualifying places at last month’s trials, has been added to the squad for Tokyo 2020. 

Cheruiyot, pictured limping away from the trials with a hamstring injury, won the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Monaco last Friday (July 9) in a personal best of 3min 28.28sec, the fastest time run since 2015 and seventh best ever.

The 25-year-old from Bomet expressed hopes after his win that he would be able try to add the Olympic gold medal to his world title and he is now due to do that against a field that will include his perennial 20-year-old Norwegian rival Jakob Ingebrigtsen, European record holder with 3:28.68.

"I am thrilled to be part of the Kenyan Olympic team," Cheruiyot, now the favourite for gold, told Agence-France Presse. 

 "I am in better shape than I was during the trials and I promise to deliver a medal for Kenya in Tokyo."

Cheruiyot’s addition has been made possible by the ineligibility of the relatively unknown 18-year-old who finished second at the trials, Kamar Etyang.

He has had to be removed from the team because he does not have the minimum number of three out-of-competition tests that Kenyan athletes must fulfil in the 10 months before any major championship following the country’s placement in category A of the World Athletics and World Anti-Doping Agency watchlist.

Kenya's Olympics general team manager Barnaba Korir told The Nation that Athletics Kenya had petitioned the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) over the issue of Etyang without success.

"It’s really unfortunate that Etyang had to be dropped due to the AIU rules which require one to be tested three times out of competition," Korir said.

"We have explained this to the athlete and he has understood the situation we are in."

He added that the AIU were unable to make exceptions to the ruling.

"We were in the same situation in 2019 when two athletes Michael Kibet and Daniel Simiu were dropped from the team that was heading to the World Championships [in Doha]," Korir said.

"This is because Kenya is in category A and we need to strictly follow the rules so that we can get out of the woods in future."

Cheruiyot had made it clear after his Monaco victory that he was hopeful of being in the team for Tokyo 2020.

"I missed competition a lot after spending a lot of time in Kenya where I had a few issues like my hamstring injury and after also losing a relative in my family on the day of the Kenyan trials explaining why I missed out on making the team," he said.

"I am therefore happy I am back again after all this.

"Hopefully that will be the deciding performance to make the team for Tokyo.

"My hope now is to be in another Olympics, that is where my mindset is and I will be very happy if I achieve that."

Ingebrigtsen, reportedly unable to train for the preceding fortnight because of a bacterial infection, finished second, with Spain’s Mohamed Katir setting a national record of 3:28.76 in second place.

Three other athletes originally named for the Kenyan team for Tokyo have been dropped - racewalkers Samuel Gathimba and Emily Ngii and 400m hurdler Moitalel Mpoke.

Kenya will send 40 athletes, mainly runners, to Tokyo 2020, which are due to open on July 23 with the athletics programme running from July 30 to August 8.

 

(07/15/2021) Views: 523 ⚡AMP
by Mike Rowbottom
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision. ...

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Record-holding British medal Oliver Dustin hope could be banned from Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games after cocaine is found in in-competition sample

A top British runner who broke a record held by World Athletics boss and two-time Olympic champ Sebastian Coe last month has reportedly provided a drugs test sample containing small traces of cocaine, threatening his Tokyo place.

Briefly the holder of the world-leading outdoor 800m time for the year after breaking Coe's record for under-23s, Oliver Dustin booked his place on the British team for Tokyo 2020 with another impressive run in Manchester less than three weeks ago.

The 20-year-old has not raced since and has consulted lawyers after returning an adverse analytical finding for traces of a cocaine metabolite following an in-competition test in France, according to The Times.

French anti-doping authorities are said to be managing the matter, with a claim that the sample has been contaminated one of the options open to Dustin in what would be a long process, the report said.

Dustin could still compete at the olympics at the Olympics if he accepts responsibility, can prove the cocaine was ingested out of competition and was then ordered to serve a one-month ban while agreeing to take an education course.

The latest World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) rules say: “If the athlete can establish that any ingestion or use occurred out-of-competition and was unrelated to sport performance, then the period of ineligibility shall be three months' ineligibility.

“In addition, the period of ineligibility calculated... may be reduced to one month if the athlete or other person satisfactorily completes a Substance of Abuse treatment program approved by the Anti-Doping Organization with Results Management responsibility.”

America's top female sprinter, Sha’Carri Richardson, received a four-week ban earlier this month after testing positive for cannabis, keeping her out of the Olympics because her positive test emerged after she won her country's trials over 100m.

The Times said that UK Athletics had declined to comment, while Dustin’s agent, Stephen Haas, described the news of a positive test as “not factual at this point” and offered no further comment.

Writing after securing his place at the Olympics with a second-placed finish after a thriller in Manchester, the European Athletics U20 Championships gold medalist in 2019 told his thousands of social media followers: "See you in Tokyo.

(07/15/2021) Views: 285 ⚡AMP
by Olympics
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Sha'Carri Richardson set to return in Diamond League Prefontaine Classic

American sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson will run the 100 and 200 metres in the Diamond League Prefontaine Classic after completing a one-month ban.

Richardson, 21, was a favourite for the 100m at the Tokyo Olympics but tested positive for cannabis at last month's US Track & Field trials.

She was prevented from running in the 100m at the Games, and USA Track & Field (USATF) later declined to include her in the relay.

Richardson's ban ends on 28 July.

"I'm looking forward to running fast and putting on a show," she said.

Richardson's ban has reignited fierce debate over the use of cannabis in sport, with the White House reportedly seeking a meeting with the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) to discuss rules regarding the banned substance.

The sprinter explained she had taken it as a way of coping after learning about the death of her biological mother, and US anti-doping authorities said in her case if had been a "substance of abuse" rather than for enhancing performance.

The Prefontaine Classic runs from August 20-21 at Eugene's Hayward Field, kicking off the Diamond League's post-Olympic series of events.

(07/12/2021) Views: 398 ⚡AMP
by Athletics
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Shelby Houlihan says she ate a pork burrito before her drug test and this is why she tested positive.

Olympic runner Shelby Houlihan said she has been banned from the sport for four years following a positive test for anabolic steroids that she attributes to eating a pork burrito.

Houlihan said she was devastated to learn of the suspension from the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), an independent body that combats doping, after she tested positive for nandrolone.

Houlihan said in a post on Instagram Monday that a burrito she ate before the test contained pig organ meat, or offal, which she said can lead to a positive test for nandrolone. A study funded by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) found trace amounts of nandrolone can be found in that kind of meat and warned about the possibility of a false positive.

The ban will prevent the 28-year-old from competing in upcoming US Olympic Trials and the Tokyo Olympic Games. Doping accusations and investigations have led to multiple bans of athletes and even entire countries from competing, including a two-year ban on Russia from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

The runner said she received an email from AIU on January 14, 2021, informing her that a drug test she took December 15, 2020, returned positive for nandrolone.

"When I got that email, I had to read it over about ten times and google what it was that I had just tested positive for," she said in the post. "I had never even heard of nandrolone."

(06/15/2021) Views: 466 ⚡AMP
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American record holder Shelby Houlihan receives four-year ban week before Olympic track trials

Accomplished distance runner Shelby Houlihan was handed a four-year ban exactly one week before the start of U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials.

Houlihan was considered an Olympic medal contender entering this year. The 2016 Olympian holds American records in both the 1500m and 5000m. In 2018, she became the second woman ever to win both distances at the U.S. outdoor championships.

Houlihan placed fourth in the 1500m at the 2019 World Championships.

The 28-year-old had not competed yet this year, which was explained on Monday evening.

Houlihan tested positive for nandrolone in an out-of-competition urine test administered by the World Anti-Doping Agency on Dec. 15, 2020.

Nandrogen is an androgen and anabolic steroid known to increase muscle mass.

In a virtual press conference, well-known sports attorney and founder of Global Sports Advocates Paul Greene walked reporters through Houlihan’s case, alongside Houlihan and Bowerman Track Club coaches Jerry Schumacher and Shalane Flanagan, an Olympic silver medalist in the 10,000m.

“Shelby is an innocent athlete,” Greene declared. “What happened to her is entirely unjust.”

“I don’t have the words to articulate the depth of sadness I feel for you,” head coach Schumacher said in his statement.

After being notified of the positive test in January, Houlihan created a food log of everything she had consumed the week prior to the test.

Her team believes the result came from a pork burrito Houlihan purchased at a food truck near her home in Beaverton, Oregon, and ate the night before the 6 a.m. test.

It has been noted in WADA documents that consumption of meat, specifically pig offal, can lead to the presence of nandrolone.

Greene explained that Houlihan initially received a provisional suspension of more than three months, which caused them to opt for a single hearing before the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

In the interim, Houlihan had a hair sample tested and passed a polygraph test in an effort to prove her innocence. Greene hired a private investigator and former WADA scientist to help prove their case as well. He pushed for the sample to be tested at a second lab to no avail.

According to Greene, Houlihan has been tested approximately 100 times since 2016 and has never tested positive or missed a test in that time.

The CAS hearing was held the first week of June, with the final ruling of a four-year ban delivered on Friday, June 11. That would take Houlihan out of the running of the Paris 2024 Olympics as well; she said she is currently unsure of what her future holds.

“I feel completely devastated, lost, broken, angry, confused and betrayed by the very sport that I loved and poured myself into just to see how good I was,” Houlihan said as she fought back tears. “I want to be very clear: I’ve never taken any performance-enhancing substances and that includes the one of which I have been accused. … I do this sport because I love it, I have so much fun doing it and it’s always the best part of my day.

“This sport means everything to me. I believe doping and cheating is weak. … I would never disrespect the sport, my competitors, my teammates, my coaches, my family and my fans this way. I love the sport too much. …

“I’ve always wanted to stand at the top of an Olympic podium with a gold medal around my neck, knowing I did that, and now I am not sure that will ever happen.”

Greene is considering an appeal to the Swiss federal tribunal.

(06/15/2021) Views: 369 ⚡AMP
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Scientists reveal a new way to detect banned performance-enhancing substances just ahead of the Tokyo Olympics

A team of scientists at the Florida Institute of Technology has developed a new method for detecting doping compounds in urine samples ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.

This new method will not only help regulatory agencies detect existing dopants, but will also help them find newly created illicit steroids not yet known to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to reduce doping in the future. The research was presented Monday at the American Chemical Society.

Each year, WADA releases a list containing every substance athletes are prohibited from using, which includes steroids. The problem is that it can be difficult to distinguish between endogenous steroids (those created naturally in the athlete’s body) and exogenous steroids (steroids the athlete takes in from an outside source) when analyzing a urine sample. Additionally, new performance-enhancing drugs are continuously being developed that many labs don’t know to test for.

“As quickly as we develop methods to look for performance-enhancing drugs, clandestine labs develop new substances that give athletes a competitive advantage,” Dr. Christopher Chouinard, the project’s principal investigator said in an interview.

CChouinard and his team have now developed a test using mass spectrometry and gas or liquid chromatography that can differentiate between endogenous and exogenous steroids, while also anticipating the chemical structure of potential future performance-enhancing compounds. Basically, this test breaks the molecules in the sample up and separates them into fragments, so testing facilities can identify the original, intact compound. Then, the scientists use another special separation technique that allows them to tell the difference between naturally occurring steroids and synthetic, performance-enhancing substances.

The team is also collaborating with other researchers at the university to develop machine-learning techniques to predict the structure and other characteristics of new or future steroids that WADA does not yet know about.

“If we can develop methods to identify any theoretical steroids in the future, we could dramatically reduce doping, because we would be able to detect these new species immediately, without the lag time that’s been associated with anti-doping testing over the last 40 years,” Chouinard says.

This research is coming out only a few months before the summer Olympics, and if it can be employed in time, it could make these Games one of the cleanest on record.

(04/08/2021) Views: 451 ⚡AMP
by Brittany Hambleton
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision. ...

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Sebastian Coe warns Italy not to be on wrong side of history following Schwazer doping clearance

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe has warned Italy to not be on the "wrong side of history" after a court cleared Olympic race walking champion Alex Schwazer of doping in a criminal case.

An Italian court in Bolzano ruled last month that urine samples belonging to Schwazer, who was given an eight-year ban before the Rio 2016 Olympics, were "highly likely" tampered with.

The criminal court case was dismissed after the court stated it was possible that the sample was tampered with to show up a positive result.

Schwazer was given the lengthy ban as it was his second doping offence, having previously served a three-and-a-half year suspension for testing positive for erythropoietin before the London 2012 Olympics.

The Italian has not disputed results of that first test.

He did claim he was a victim of foul play related to his second ban, which was handed to him following a sample from January 1 2016.

It had initially given negative results, but a new analysis revealed traces of steroids.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) gave the Beijing 2008 50-kilometre race walk champion an eight-year ban for his second offence, but after the Italian court ruling, Coe criticised its decision.

"We do resolutely reject any attempt by the athlete or any individuals associated with the athlete to undermine or seek to annul the final CAS ruling," said Coe in a press conference.

"It was an award based on what can be best described as far-fetched manipulation theories."

The ruling in Bolzano has led to a suggestion that Schwazer could appeal to the Swiss Federal Tribunal.

CAS rejected an appeal from Schwazer to overturn his lengthy ban in August 2016 and the Swiss Federal court upheld CAS' ruling when the Italian later appealed to it.

Schwazer was stripped of a World Race Walking Team Championships title won in Rome in 2016 as a result of the second anti-doping violation.

"I don't want Italy to be on the wrong side of history here," added Coe.

"The Athletics Integrity Unit and World Athletics stand absolutely by the position they've taken.

"The issue is clearly one that is exercising Italy and it is important that we remain very firm and very resolute here.

"I don't want Italian track and field to be tainted, I just hope that people recognise that this is an important issue and history will be unkind."

(03/22/2021) Views: 441 ⚡AMP
by Michael Houston
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Kenyan runner convicted of doping offense in criminal court

A female runner became the first athlete in Kenya to be convicted of a doping offense in a criminal court on Friday.

Distance runner Florence Jepkosgei Chepsoi, who finished second at the 2019 Jakarta Marathon, was sentenced to one year of community service after she was found guilty of presenting false documents and lying to the Kenyan anti-doping agency at a hearing.

She changed her plea to guilty having initially pleaded not guilty when she was first charged in court last year.

Kenya criminalized doping offenses in 2016 in the midst of a stream of drug scandals among its world-renowned distance runners. The East African nation updated its anti-doping laws late last year.

Chepsoi was initially charged with doping by the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya in 2017 after testing positive for the banned steroid prednisolone at a race in China. When she appeared before a tribunal, she presented documents she claimed were from a hospital as part of her defense. ADAK found the documents were forgeries and Chepsoi had never been treated at the hospital, leading the anti-doping body to push for her to be prosecuted in a criminal court.

It’s rare for an athlete to face criminal charges for doping offenses, although Chepsoi is not the first worldwide.

Criminal prosecutors normally target people such as doctors and other support staff who facilitate doping in what they refer to as doping conspiracies rather than the athletes themselves. The World Anti-Doping Agency recommends athletes do not face criminal prosecution for doping.

The United States passed a law in December that criminalized doping conspiracies and allows U.S. prosecutors to go after doping schemes at international events in which Americans are involved as athletes, sponsors or broadcasters. The Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act was named after Grigory Rodchenkov, the former Moscow lab director who helped uncover state-sponsored doping by Russian athletes.

However, the Rodchenko Act makes clear that individual athletes are not subject to prosecution.

ADAK said more athletes would “face the law” for doping in the coming days. Four other Kenyan athletes are facing criminal charges for doping offenses.

(03/14/2021) Views: 565 ⚡AMP
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Former Russian athletics chief Dmitry Shlyakhtin was on Wednesday banned for four years

Shlyakhtin was banned for four years over the Lysenko doping cover-up affair, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) announced.

Four other former RUSAF officials received the same punishment from athletics' independent anti-doping watchdog: executive director Alexander Parkin, Artur Karamyan, Elena Orlova and Elena Ikonnikova.

The quintet were found guilty of obstructing an investigation into high-jumper Danil Lysenko, a silver medallist at the 2017 World Championships in London.

Shlyakhtin and the others were suspended last year for "serious breaches" of anti-doping rules.

Russia has been banned from competing as a country in athletics since 2015, after the World Anti-Doping Agency found evidence of widespread doping in the sport.

Some Russian athletes, including Lysenko, have been allowed to compete under a neutral flag.

But last year Lysenko had that status removed by athletics' governing body, then called the IAAF, after he failed to provide the whereabouts information he is required to give to submit to doping tests.

The AIU's 15-month investigation found that Shlyakhtin and Parkin had been involved in the "provision of false explanations and forged documents to the AIU in order to explain whereabouts failures by the athlete".

The ex-RUSAF five can appeal the verdict while Lysenko's case is still ongoing.

RUSAF has until March 1 to present its plans for reform and remains under the threat of exclusion from the IAAF and the Tokyo Olympics.

(02/19/2021) Views: 431 ⚡AMP
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Olympic 100m hurdles champion Brianna McNeal could face eight-year ban

The Olympic 100m hurdles champion Brianna McNeal could face an eight-year ban after becoming the latest big-name athlete to be charged with an anti-doping violation.

In a statement, the Athletics Integrity Unit said that the 29-year-old American had been provisionally suspended after being charged with “tampering within the results management process”, but did not give any more details.

Under anti-doping rules, the standard sanction for a tampering charge is a four-year ban. However in 2017 McNeal was banned for a year by the United States Anti-Doping Agency after three whereabouts failures in 2016 - two of them after she forgot to update her whereabouts details when she was attending a fete of honour in her hometown and travelling to the White House to meet the president.

McNeal who led a historic USA sweep of the medals in her event in Rio, with Nia Ali and Kristi Castlin finishing second and third, was punished under the World Anti-Doping Agency’s code for failing to properly file whereabouts information on three occasions in a 12-month period.

The American Arbitration Association, which ruled on the case, described it as “a difficult case because it involves the imposition of a serious penalty on a brilliant athlete who is not charged or suspected of using banned substances of any kind”.

At that time, McNeal posted a statement to her Instagram account, which read in part: “I’ve always competed clean, and I am always happy to be tested to prove it. This is one of the most difficult times in my career, especially after having such a great 2016 season – all I wanted to do was capitalise on that but God has other plans.” Competing under her maiden name of Rollins, she also claimed the world 100m hurdles title in Moscow in 2013.

Last week it was revealed that the London 2017 world long jump champion, Luvo Manyonga – who made worldwide headlines when he recovered from a crystal meth addiction to become one of the faces of track and field – could face a four-year ban after being provisionally suspended for whereabouts failures. The current 100m world champion Christian Coleman was hit with a two-year ban in October for missing tests.

(01/15/2021) Views: 393 ⚡AMP
by Sean Ingle
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Brenda Martinez has tested positive for a prohibited substance, without fault or negligence

USADA announced today that Brenda Martinez, of Big Bear, Calif., an athlete in the sport of track and field, has tested positive for a prohibited substance, which was determined to have been ingested by her without fault or negligence. As a result, Martinez will not face a period of ineligibility for her positive test.

“This is our sixth no-fault case in just one year, meaning that yet another athlete has been unjustly charged with a violation and publicly recognized for ingesting a prohibited substance from a completely innocent source, such as contaminated medication, meat, or water, and despite there being no effect on performance,” said Travis T. Tygart, Chief Executive Officer of USADA. “USADA strongly objects to this requirement under the rules and will continue to urge WADA to reform the system to be fairer for athletes.”

Martinez, 33, tested positive for hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) as the result of an out-of-competition urine sample she provided on September 10, 2020. HCTZ is a Specified Substance in the class of Diuretics and Masking Agents and is prohibited at all times under the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee National Anti-Doping Policy, and the World Athletics Anti-Doping Rules, all of which have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List.

During USADA’s investigation into the circumstances of her case, Martinez provided USADA with records of a permitted oral prescription medication that she was taking at the time of her positive test. This permitted medication, which Martinez takes at the direction of a physician, did not list HCTZ or any other prohibited substances on the label. However, detailed laboratory analysis subsequently conducted on multiple tablets of the athlete’s medication confirmed HCTZ contamination at a level consistent with Martinez’s positive test.

Martinez will not face a period of ineligibility for her positive test, and because the sample was collected out-of-competition, there are no competitive results to disqualify.

In an effort to aid athletes, as well as support team members such as parents and coaches, in understanding the rules applicable to them, USADA provides comprehensive instruction on its website on the testing process and prohibited substances, how to file and update athlete Whereabouts, how to obtain permission to use a necessary medication, and the risks and dangers of taking supplements, as well as performance-enhancing and recreational drugs.

In addition, USADA manages a drug reference hotline, Global Drug Reference Online (www.GlobalDRO.com), conducts educational sessions with National Governing Bodies and their athletes, and distributes a multitude of educational materials, such as an easy-reference wallet card with examples of prohibited and permitted substances, a supplement guide, a nutrition guide, an athlete handbook, and periodic alerts and advisories.

Along with education and testing, robust anti-doping programs enable investigations stemming from tips and whistleblowers. USADA makes available a number of ways to report the abuse of performance-enhancing drugs in sport in an effort to protect clean athletes and promote clean competition. Any tip can be reported using the USADA Play Clean Tip Center, by email at playclean@usada.org, by phone at 1-877-Play Clean (1-877-752-9253) or by mail.

USADA is responsible for the testing and results management process for athletes in the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movement and is equally dedicated to preserving the integrity of sport through research initiatives and educational programs.

(12/30/2020) Views: 354 ⚡AMP
by LetsRun
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Kenya´s President Uhuru Kenyatta to sign Anti-Doping Bill into law

President Uhuru Kenyatta will Wednesday sign into law the Anti-Doping (Amendment) Bill 2020, placing Kenya at the cusp of complying with the 2021 World Anti-Doping Code.

This is after the Senate, in a special sitting held Tuesday, concurred with the National Assembly and approved the Bill without amendments, paving the way for Presidential assent.

Nation Sport has learnt that State House has asked the two Speakers – Justin Muturi and Kenneth Lusaka – to avail the Bill to the President on Wednesday for the signing ceremony in what is seen as deliberate effort to beat the deadline put in place by the World Anti Doping Agency (Wada).

The signing of the Bill Wednesday will pave the way for Kenya’s participation in major international events in 2021, including the Olympics which were called off this year due to Covid-19 Pandemic.

The code, which aims to ensure that athlete rights within anti-doping are clearly set out, accessible, and universally applicable, was approved by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) and published in June 2020 and comes into force on January 1, 2021, the time in which the Kenyan law must be in place.

Senators who contributed to the debate on the Bill railed at the Ministry of Sports, accusing it of incompetence and acting as if the Wada deadlines did not exist.

Even though the code was adopted in September, the Ministry of Sports only submitted the draft to Parliament on December 7, long after Parliament had gone to Christmas recess.

Agents at fault

They however hailed the code as an important milestone in the career of Kenyan athletes arguing that it will guarantee greater success especially for long distance running that Kenya is famed for.

They however took a dig at the agents who they accuse of taking advantage of inexperienced athletes and initiating them into doping for self-gain.

Bungoma senator Moses Wetangula urged the government and the world athletics governing body to consider punishing agents in situations where the athletes are caught on the wrong side of doping.

“Most of the price money received by athletes ends up in the pockets of the agents. That is why they hold our athletes as guinea pigs,” Mr Wetangula told the House, adding that it is the agents who introduce athletes to performance enhancement drugs for selfish gain.

“Such crooked agents should be expelled from Kenya and if necessary prosecuted and imprisoned as a deterrent for destroying careers of young innocent athletes.”

Nandi senator Samson Cherarkey observed that doping has stained the Kenya sport in recent times, a fact he also blamed on the agents.

“This Bill offers an access card to our athletes. I urge all of us to pass this law so that it can open the way for Kenyan athletes to participate in international competitions.”

(12/29/2020) Views: 423 ⚡AMP
by Ibrahim Oruko
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Russia’s leading track and field athletes to compete at Olympics in Japan

Russia’s leading track and field athletes will have an opportunity of going next year at the Olympic Games in Japan next year, Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin said on Thursday speaking at the Sport Forum Live event in Moscow.

"If we speak about the track and field athletics, I must say that our relations with World Athletics entered a constructive stage of relations," Matytsin said.

"We have accepted our mistakes from the past, elected the new leadership of the All-Russia Athletics Federation [RusAF] and are now actively cooperating about its membership reinstatement," the Russian sports minister said.

"I am positive that our leading athletes of track and field athletics will be cleared to perform at the upcoming international tournaments, including at the next Olympic Games," Matytsin added.

World Athletics, suspended RusAF’s membership in November 2015, following a wave of anti-doping rules violations and formed a special mission on the issue.

World Athletics, however, allowed clean athletes from Russia to participate in international tournaments under the neutral status or the Authorized Neutral Athlete (ANA) until the membership of the RusAF is reinstated. The ANA status prohibits Russian athletes from participating in all international track and field tournaments under the national flag.

The suspension of Russia’s governing athletics body has been ruled to remain in force 15 times since its introduction in 2015.

The Russian sports minister also said that depriving Russia of the right to fly the colors of the national flag was a "dear price to be paid."

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled on the night of December 17 to keep in force a number of sanctions against Russia for the period of up to two years. The decision of the Swiss-based court was made within the frames of a legal spat between RUSADA (the Russian Anti-Doping Agency) and WADA (the World Anti-Doping Agency).

According to the CAS decision last week, Russian athletes were deprived of their right to participate in all World Championships, Olympic and Paralympic Games under the national flag of Russia for the two-year period.

The national anthem of Russia was also ruled out to be played at international sport tournaments in the course of the next two years, including at the upcoming Olympic Games in Japan next year.

"It is a dear price that we must pay for the dark period if we speak about the national flag and anthem," Matytsin said. "I’m sure that this situation will bring us closer and unite us."

"However, taking into account all mistakes from the past, I would prefer to set my aim for the future," he continued. "The most important is to cultivate a respect for each other and to keep an attitude of intolerance regarding the use of doping in sports."

The IOC (the International Olympic Committee) and the IPC (the International Paralympic Committee) announced on March 24 a decision to postpone for one year the Olympic and Paralympic tournaments in Japan due to the continuous COVID-19 spread.

(12/26/2020) Views: 515 ⚡AMP
by Russian News Agency
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision. ...

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Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act officially passed into law

The U.S. bill to criminalize doping has officially been passed into law despite objections from WADA

On December 4, the U.S. officially signed the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act into law. This new law will allow American prosecutors to investigate doping at international events in which Americans are participants, sponsors, or broadcasters. Violators will face up to 10 years in prison, as well as fines of $250,000 for individuals and $1 million for organizations.

This comes less than one month after the bill was passed through the U.S. Senate, amid heavy criticism from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). In a statement released on November 17, the agency expressed its concern that some important elements of the Act may have unintended consequences, and that its extraterritorial nature might undermine the global fight against doping.

“No nation has ever before asserted criminal jurisdiction over doping offences that occurred outside its national borders – and for good reason,” the Agency said. It is likely to lead to overlapping laws in different jurisdictions that will compromise having a single set of anti-doping rules for all sports and all Anti-Doping Organizations under the World Anti-Doping Code (Code).” 

Additionally, WADA wants to know why the act excludes large areas of U.S. sports, including college and professional leagues. These leagues consist of nearly half a million athletes and yet were removed from the bill without explanation.

Despite this controversy, the law has officially been passed. Some prominent voices in the fight against doping are considering this a victory, including Jim Walden, the lawyer representing Grigory Rodchenkov, the Russian whistle-blower for whom the act is named. Walden says that it is now up to the Department of Justice to cooperate with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and international law enforcement partners to develop an effective program that creates zero tolerance for doping in sport.

“Dopers should be on clear notice: there is a new sheriff in town, so cheat at your own peril,” he said in a statement.

It is important to note that this law is aimed not at individuals who are cheating, but at larger doping schemes. Walden is considering the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act a monumental step in the fight for clean sport, and is hoping that other countries will partner with the U.S. on cross-border law enforcement to protect the rights of clean athletes and the integrity of sport.

 

(12/26/2020) Views: 302 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Many Protests as Russia doping ban cut to two years

Russia's ban from international sport was halved to two years on Thursday and its athletes were cleared to compete as neutrals, drawing condemnation from athletes and anti-doping advocates.

The Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport cut the initial four-year ban imposed by the World Anti-Doping Agency, citing "matters of proportionality" and the "need to effect cultural change and encourage the next generation of Russian athletes".

"The consequences which the Panel has decided to impose are not as extensive as those sought by WADA," a CAS statement said.

"This should not, however, be read as any validation of the conduct of RUSADA (Russia's anti-doping watchdog) or the Russian authorities."

The CAS judgement comes after WADA hit Russia with the four-year ban last year for doping non-compliance after finding data handed over from its tainted Moscow laboratory had been manipulated.

The saga first erupted in 2016 when Grigory Rodchenkov, the laboratory's former head, blew the whistle over state-backed doping at the 2014 Winter Olympics in the Russian resort of Sochi.

The shortened ban imposed by CAS runs until December 16, 2022, encompassing the Tokyo Olympics, Beijing Winter Games and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which ends two days later.

Russia's flag is forbidden, but its athletes will be allowed to compete in a uniform bearing the word "Russia", as long as it also says "neutral athlete", the court said.

Government representatives including President Vladimir Putin are barred, but they may still attend if invited by the host country's head of state, CAS added.

WADA president Witold Banka said he was "disappointed" that the four-year ban was cut, but still called the ruling "an important moment for clean sport".

"WADA is pleased to have won this landmark case," Banka said, adding that the verdict "clearly upheld our findings that the Russian authorities brazenly and illegally manipulated the Moscow laboratory data in an effort to cover up an institutionalised doping scheme".

'Devastating decision'

But there was strong condemnation elsewhere. US Anti-Doping Agency chief executive officer Travis Tygart, who played a key role in exposing cycling's Lance Armstrong doping scandal, called it a "devastating decision".

"At this stage in this sordid Russian state-sponsored doping affair, now spanning close to a decade, there is no consolation in this weak, watered-down outcome," Tygart said.

He called it "a catastrophic blow to clean athletes, the integrity of sport, and the rule of law" and, in an interview with AFP, said the ruling was a "tragedy" for the global fight against drug cheats.

British Olympic gold medal-winning cyclist Callum Skinner tweeted, "The biggest doping scandal in history goes unpunished," and Global Athlete, which advocates for sportspeople, called the ruling "farcical".

"The fact that Russian Athletes can compete as 'Neutral Athletes from Russia' is another farcical facade that makes a mockery of the system."

(12/19/2020) Views: 388 ⚡AMP
by AFP
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Sebastian Coe says that he is not sure Russian doping issue can be resolved in near future

World Athletics President, Sebastian Coe said on Friday, that he wants the suspended Russia to return as an “accountable and responsible” member federation but he is not sure of resolving the Russian doping issue in the near future.

Russia was suspended in 2015 after World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) found evidence of mass doping among Russian track and field athletes. “I hope it in the foreseeable future, I am not sure, I will use the word ‘near’. I cannot quantify that (future) but that has to be our ambition,” Coe answered when asked if he is hopeful of resolving the Russian doping issue in the near future.

“It’s not a good thing to have a country like Russia sitting outside our sport. I want Russia to be back as a fully functioning member federation with accountability and responsibility, that every other member federation accepts,” Coe said during an interaction with PTI.

The Russian federation paid a multi-million dollar fine in August to avoid expulsion from World Athletics. “I am optimistic, we are moving in right direction. There is a new president of the federation elected recently (Pyotr Ivanov) and the (WA) Task Force thinks at last, there is a federation president who is seized of the importance of driving a change,” Coe said.

World Athletics in September gave Russia a six-month extension to finalise it’s reinstatement plan, before it decides on it’s potential fresh sanctions or even expulsion. ” Our task force chaired by Rune Andersen gave an update report to the (WA) Council last week. We had two days of council meeting and he (Andersen) said ”he is more optimistic about the process that we are in,” the 64-year old said.

“The re-instatement roadmap is going to be with us datelined beginning March. Hoping it might be a little bit earlier. It then allows us to look at the status of authorised neutral athletes (ANA). But there is another (trail) of complexities in that because the WADA is still waiting the outcome of an appeal (by Russian athletes) to the Court of Arbitration of Sports,” the double Olympic medalist added.

Coe was asked how difficult it was to conduct dope tests of athletes during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We are continuing (testing of athletes) though it is challenging. There are travel restrictions… logistic challenges getting to the athletes. But we have continued our testing processes. Right at the beginning of the pandemic, I had advised the athletes very strongly not to conclude that they are going to be in a test free zone,” he answered.

“The nature of testing has changed, now it is intelligence-led, it is incremental and sequential. We know who, how and where the challenges are. Most of the athletes are very happy that we are taking that approach,” he added.

(12/16/2020) Views: 451 ⚡AMP
by FS Desk
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Ex-800m world champion Marina Arzamasova handed four-year doping ban

Former 800 meters world champion Marina Arzamasova has been banned for four years by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) after failing an anti-doping test.

An out-of-competition sample provided by the Belarusian on July 29 2019 was found to contain LGD-4033.

Also known as ligandrol, it is ordinarily used to treat conditions such as muscle wasting and osteoporosis and is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency as it stimulates muscle growth.

Arzamasova's B sample also tested positive for LGD-4033.

The athlete, who had been provisionally suspended since August 2019, requested a hearing in front of a three-person AIU Disciplinary Panel, which was held remotely last month.

Arzamasova blamed contaminated supplements for the presence of LGD-4033, but this rejected by the panel, which found the 32-year-old "failed to establish that her ADRV [anti-doping rule violation] was not intentional".

As a result, there was no need to deliberate over Arzamasova's degree of fault or negligence, so a four-year ban was applied.

Arzamasova won the 800m world title in Beijing in 2015, posting a personal best of 1min 57.54sec.

The Belarusian also won the European title in Zürich in 2014.

At the Rio 2016 Olympics, Arzamasova paced seventh in the 800m final in 1:59.10, and at London 2012 she failed to go beyond the heats.

Arzamasova may not compete again until July 29 2023.

All of her results between July 29 and August 22 in 2019 have been disqualified.

The ruling can be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Belarus is one of seven countries considered by the AIU to represent the highest doping risk, along with Bahrain, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria and Ukraine.

Per the AIU database, Arzamasova is now among nine track and field athletes from Belarus currently banned for doping.

(12/08/2020) Views: 472 ⚡AMP
by Ali Iveson
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Kenya’s Daniel Wanjiru banned following doping violations, he won't be allowed to compete again until December 2023

On Wednesday, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) announced that it gave Kenyan marathoner Daniel Wanjiru a four-year ban following an Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) violation. The 28-year-old Wanjiru has big wins to his name from the Amsterdam Marathon in 2016 and London Marathon in 2017, as well as a podium finish at the 2019 Vitality Big Half Marathon.

With race cancellations around the world, he hasn’t missed out on many racing opportunities during his suspension (which was issued by the AIU in April), but he is now officially banned from competition until December 8, 2023.  

What is an Athlete Biological Passport?

Some drug tests can detect specific substances, but ABPs are more general, and according to the World Anti-Doping Agency, they monitor “biological variables over time that indirectly reveal the effects of doping.” Multiple rounds of blood tests are used to determine what the “normal” blood levels are for each individual athlete. Once this is set, any future changes or jumps in an athlete’s levels likely mean that they are doping.

According to the AIU’s disciplinary report on Wanjiru, he accepted a “volunteer provisional suspension” in December, agreeing not to race at all until a decision was made regarding his fate in the sport. Because of this, his ban retroactively starts on December 9, 2019. Four years from then, on December 8, 2023, the ban will be complete. As written in the report, Wanjiru told the AIU that he “did not have the medical or other means or motive to dope in any of the ways alleged, or at all.” 

In addition to his ban, the AIU ordered that Wanjiru forfeit any results he recorded following the test in question, which was taken on March 9, 2019. He will also have to repay any prize money he won after this date. Unfortunately for Wanjiru, he ran all three of his races in 2019 after March 9, starting with his third-place finish at the Vitality Big Half Marathon on March 10, an 11th place at the London Marathon in April and finally another 11th at a 10,000m race in Kenya in July. 

(10/15/2020) Views: 529 ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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WADA threatens U.S. Olympic ban if they withdraw funding

Last week, the U.S. threatened to pull funding from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which in turn caused WADA to threaten their expulsion from the Olympic Games. WADA suggested there could be new legislation that, if they pulled funding, would find the U.S., and by extension their athletes, non-compliant with WADA rules. 

WADA is an international independent agency dedicated to to monitoring the World Anti-Doping Code. 

The feud stems from a June report from the Office of National Drug Control Policy, which was presented to U.S. Congress and was critical of WADA. The report said that WADA needed to implement immediately reform and requested that the Americans have more representation on their boards and committees. Reuters reports that the U.S. is the highest single contributor to WADA, giving “over $2.7 million into the 2020 budget of $37.4 million, half of which comes from the IOC.”

According to USADA President Travis Tygart, WADA’s threats are empty. “If the U.S. government stops paying, the only consequence specified in the WADA rules and UNESCO treaty is that the U.S. could no longer sit on any WADA committees. You can trust the federal government looked at the legal ramifications in the event they stopped paying.”

If the U.S. does decide to pull funding, it would leave a gap between themselves, their athletes and anti-doping worldwide. Without participating in the standardized testing pool (which is run by WADA), American athletes would have a hard time proving their clean record. For now, the U.S. remains affiliated with WADA, but that could change in the coming weeks.

(09/10/2020) Views: 572 ⚡AMP
by Madeleine Kelly
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision. ...

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400m runner, Graeme Thompson was given a two-year suspension for anti-doping violation

Graeme Thompson, a member of the Speed River Track and Field Club and former Guelph Gryphon, was given a two-year suspension on Tuesday for presence of clenbuterol, a prohibited anabolic agent, and tamoxifen, a prohibited hormone and metabolic modulator in a July 27, 2019 test.

Thompson’s positive sample would have been given at the 2019 national championships in Montreal, where he finished fourth in the 400m final. He would go on to join Team Canada at the 2019 World Championships as an alternate on the 4 x 400m relay team. He continued to race until in January 2020, but hasn’t recorded any results since.

Thompson was a member of the 2018-2019 Gryphons team that won the U Sports men’s national title. He was ranked third nationally in the 400m at the end of the 2019 season.

Clenbuterol is often used to treat asthma and is found in certain inhalers. Tamoxifen, on the other hand, is most commonly used to treat breast cancer as an estrogen blocker. While anti-estrogens don’t really enhance performance, they’re banned by WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) because the drug can be used to alleviate symptoms of other performance enhancing drugs, like testosterone.

The standard sanction for the presence of the mentioned substances is a four-year ban. However, according to the CCES, based on information provided by the athlete, the violation was deemed unintentional and therefore a two-year sanction was proposed.

Thompson waived his right to a hearing and accepted the sanction, which terminates on October 9, 2021.

(06/03/2020) Views: 612 ⚡AMP
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Mo Farah is facing fresh allegations that he repeatedly denied receiving a controversial supplement via injection to United States Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) officials ahead of the 2014 London Marathon

The allegations have been made after BBC Panorama claimed to have received new evidence regarding Farah’s use of L-carnitine, a performance-enhancing supplement that is legal in limited doses.

A documentary on the allegations will be screened on Monday night, in which it is claimed that Farah was injected with L-carnitine in April 2014, a week before he finished eighth in the London Marathon.

It is alleged that Farah was injected with the supplement by the then UK Athletics doctor Robin Chakraverty, who it appears failed to record it properly.

Farah and his team were summoned by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee to attend a Combatting Doping in Sport inquiry after the Sunday Times first revealed the L-carnitine infusion, where Dr Chakraverty insisted the volume administered to Farah was 13.5ml, well short of the 50ml legal limit. There is no evidence that any World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) rules were broken.

However, according to the BBC, Farah “repeatedly denied” having L-carnitine injected when quizzed by Usada officials who travelled to London in 2015 to speak to the Olympic champion’s team as part of their investigation into his disgraced former trainer Alberto Salazar, who has since been banned from the sport for four years for anti-doping offences.

Farah declined to speak to BBC Panorama regarding the new allegations, while Salazar has rejected the findings by US arbitrators and has appealed his four-year ban.

The investigation has also uncovered emails between Fudge, former UK Athletics performance director Neil Black and Dr Chakraverty in which they question whether the use of L-carnitine is in the “spirit of the sport”, and claimed they would have preferred to have trialled the use of the supplement first given it was not readily available in the UK in its concentrated form. As a result, Fudge had to travel to Switzerland to meet a contact of Salazar’s who was able to supply it for use just two days before the Marathon on 11 April.

In response to the BBC’s claims, Farah’s lawyers sent a letter that read:  "It is not against (Wada rules) rules to take (L-carnitine) as a supplement within the right quantities.

"The fact some people might hold views as to whether this is within the 'spirit' of the sport is irrelevant.

"Mr Farah … is one of the most tested athletes in the UK, if not the world, and has been required to fill in numerous doping forms. He is a human being and not robot.

(02/24/2020) Views: 810 ⚡AMP
by Jack de Menezes
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TCS London Marathon

TCS London Marathon

The London Marathon was first run on March 29, 1981 and has been held in the spring of every year since 2010. It is sponsored by Virgin Money and was founded by the former Olympic champion and journalist Chris Brasher and Welsh athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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Russia banned from competing in the 2020 Olympics and 2022 World Cup by the World Anti-Doping Agency

Russia has been handed a four-year ban from all major sporting events by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada).

It means the Russia flag and anthem will not be allowed at events such as the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics and football's 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

But athletes who can prove they are untainted by the doping scandal will be able to compete under a neutral flag. 

Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev said the ban was part of "chronic anti-Russian hysteria".

"It is obvious that significant doping problems still exist in Russia, I mean our sporting community," he said. "This is impossible to deny. 

"But on the other hand the fact that all these decisions are repeated, often affecting athletes who have already been punished in one way or another, not to mention some other points - of course this makes one think that this is part of anti-Russian hysteria which has become chronic."

Russian president Vladimir Putin said the country had grounds to appeal against the decision.

Wada's executive committee made the unanimous decision to impose the ban on Russia in a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, recently.

It comes after Russia's Anti Doping Agency (Rusada) was declared non-compliant for manipulating laboratory data handed over to investigators in January 2019.

It had to hand over data to Wada as a condition of its controversial reinstatement in 2018 after a three-year suspension for its vast state-sponsored doping scandal.

Wada president Sir Craig Reedie said the decision showed its "determination to act resolutely in the face of the Russian doping crisis".

He added: "For too long, Russian doping has detracted from clean sport. The blatant breach by the Russian authorities of Rusada's reinstatement conditions demanded a robust response. 

"That is exactly what has been delivered. 

"Russia was afforded every opportunity to get its house in order and rejoin the global anti-doping community for the good of its athletes and of the integrity of sport, but it chose instead to continue in its stance of deception and denial."

But Wada vice-president Linda Helleland said the ban was "not enough".

"I wanted sanctions that can not be watered down," she said. "We owe it to the clean athletes to implement the sanctions as strongly as possible."

A total of 168 Russian athletes competed under a neutral flag at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang after the country was banned following the 2014 Games, which it hosted in Sochi. Russian athletes won 33 medals in Sochi, 13 of which were gold.

Russia has been banned from competing as a nation in athletics since 2015.

Despite the ban, Russia will be able to compete at Euro 2020 - in which St Petersburg will be a host city - as European football's governing body Uefa is not defined as a 'major event organisation' with regards to rulings on anti-doping breaches.

Fifa said it had "taken note" of Wada's decision, adding: "Fifa is in contact with Wada to clarify the extent of the decision in regards to football."

The promoters of the Russian Grand Prix also said they were "confident" the race would go ahead because their contract was signed before the Wada investigation and runs until 2025.

An F1 spokesman reiterated the comments of the promoters, adding: "We will monitor the situation to see if there is an appeal and what would be its outcome."

In a statement, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) said: "Those responsible for the manipulation of data from the Moscow laboratory before it was transferred to Wada appear to have done everything possible to undermine the principles of fair and clean sport, principles that the rest of the sporting world support and adhere to. 

"This sincere lack of respect towards the rest of the global sporting movement is not welcome and has zero place in the world of sport. It is only right that those responsible for this data manipulation are punished."

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said it "supported" Wada's decision.

(12/21/2019) Views: 945 ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision. ...

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Russia is at risk of not being able to participate in the Tokyo Olympics due to possible doping violations

Vladimir Putin says Russia wants to leave its doping "shortcomings" in the past, even as it faces questions regarding data tampering.

The Russian president tells a televised sports conference that his country is complying with the World Anti-Doping Agency "to the fullest extent."

Russia met the October 9 deadline for responding to questions regarding “inconsistencies” in the data WADA investigators retrieved from a Moscow laboratory in January as part of a massive doping investigation.

The agency said its Intelligence and Investigations Team and independent forensic experts will analyze Russia’s response, adding that “no fixed timeline can be set for this” but that WADA is pursuing the matter “robustly and as quickly as practicable.”

Russia faces the prospect of being banned from next year’s Olympics in Tokyo after the World Anti-Doping Agency gave it three weeks to explain apparent inconsistencies in data from its Moscow laboratory or to suffer the consequences.

Sources close to the situation believe there is now a strong possibility Russia will be banned from the Olympic Games and it is not inconceivable such a punishment could also extend to competitions in any sport signed up to Wada’s code, including the football World Cup.

Stanislav Pozdnyakov, the president of Russia’s Olympic Committee, admitted the situation was “very serious” and could jeopardise Russia’s Olympic participation.

WADA lifted its ban on the Russian Anti-Doping Agency in September 2018, much to the anger of the wider global anti-doping community and athlete groups. Critics said the Russians had refused to accept the findings of the McLaren report that concluded its government was involved in a massive doping conspiracy.

Wada said it had to compromise in order to get the data from the Moscow lab, which it had wanted since 2015, in order to build cases against athletes suspected of being involved in a state-sponsored doping programme.

However, Wada’s board was told that investigators had also found inconsistencies between a data set passed to it by a whistleblower in 2017 and the evidence extracted in January.

Jonathan Taylor, chairman of Wada’s committee tasked with overseeing Russia’s compliance, told the New York Times the Russians needed to “pull a rabbit out of a hat” to avoid new penalties. “There were positive findings that were deleted; 

The Russian sports minister, Pavel Kolobkov, said the ministry would cooperate with Wada, adding that experts in the field of digital technology would be involved.

The chief executive of the US Anti-Doping Agency, Travis Tygart, who has repeatedly warned that Wada was being played by Russia, said he was unsurprised by the latest news.

“Let’s hope there are no secret backroom deals but that justice is finally served in an open, transparent and public manner,” he said. “The world, and especially clean athletes, have already been yanked around enough already.”

(10/13/2019) Views: 1,087 ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision. ...

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Kenya has eliminated the wildcard selection criteria for its elite athletes seeking to make the team to the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar in October

Athletics Kenya (AK) president Jack Tuwei, however, said that reigning world champions and Diamond League Trophy winners would be exempted from the national trials set for Nairobi from August 20 to 22.

"Unlike previous editions, this year only athletes finishing the trials in positions one to three will be assured of an automatic ticket to the World Championships. The criteria is simple; it will be 1, 2 and 3 across the finish line," said Tuwei on Tuesday in Nairobi.

Kenya hopes to send a huge team to Doha, with over 70 athletes expected to make the cut. However, to be considered for selection, every athlete must have achieved the IAAF-mandated qualifying standard in each event.

"Currently, only a few athletes have attained these conditions and therefore there is a need for the coaches and athletes to check their status with Athletics Kenya," said AK competition team leader Paul Mutwii.

Two years ago, Kenya amassed 11 medals - five gold, two silver and four bronze - to finish second behind the United States in the medal standings at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London. Mutwii believes the team has the capacity to recapture the overall title they claimed at Beijing 2015, and wants every athlete to study the championship program to decide if it is possible to double up in certain events.

"We will not deny any athlete who intends to double up at the World Championships as long as the program allows," said Mutwii. "But they must focus more on their traditional event before considering other races."

World 5,000m and 1,500m champions Hellen Obiri and Elijah Manangoi have already hinted at doubling up in Doha.

Along with athletes from Ethiopia, Morocco, Ukraine and Russia, Kenya will also be subject to strict anti-doping measures, and athletes will have to undergo three separate anti-doping tests to be eligible to compete in Doha.

"All athletes must fulfill the anti-doping requirements by the AIU (Athletics Integrity Unit) of the IAAF. It requires the selected athlete to have undergone three out-of-competition and same number of in-competition anti-doping tests before the selection date," said Tuwei.

So far, six athletes have tested positive this year as the AIU and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) tighten the noose on Kenya in an effort to curb doping and have a clean championship.

(07/16/2019) Views: 1,246 ⚡AMP
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IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha

IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha

The seventeenth edition of the IAAF World Championships is scheduled to be held between 27 September and 6 October 2019 in Doha, Qatar at the renovated multi-purpose Khalifa International Stadium. Doha overcame bids from Eugene, USA, and Barcelona, Spain to be granted the rights to host the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Athletics. Having hosted the IAAF Diamond League, formerly...

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Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the Russian Olympic Committee to take steps to get the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to monitor the Russian Athletics Federation

Last March the IAAF Council, meeting in Doha, reported that "there are no changes in the status of the Russian Athletics Federation", which has not taken part in international competitions since 2015 due to the accusations of doping.

"The Russian Olympic Committee wants to take comprehensive measures to re-establish the status of the Russian Athletics Federation in the International Association of Athletics Federations and to ensure that all members of the Russian Olympic team take part in the XXXII Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020 (in Japan) without restrictions ", says the text of the order.

The Russian Olympic Committee has "a deadline until December 2, 2019" to take the aforementioned measures.

Likewise, Putin ordered an increase in efforts "to protect the rights and interests of Russian athletes internationally."

The Russian president also decided to study the possibility of presenting Russia as a candidate to host the World Games of the Association for Sport for All in 2024 (Tafisa, by its English acronym).

In November 2015, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accused Russia of violating anti-doping rules and recommended to the IAAF to remove Russian athletes from international competitions.

In 2015 the IAAF suspended the FAR for the consequences of the doping scandal and since then extended the suspension on more than one occasion by estimating that it has not complied in all with the roadmap to combat doping.

(05/03/2019) Views: 758 ⚡AMP
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