Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
The Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) today named two of the six Chinese swimmers whose positive tests The Times accused China of concealing ahead of April’s Chinese Olympic trials. ‘FINA notes the recent media articles about positive tests for the Chinese swimmers Wang Lizhuo and An Jiabao for clenbuterol and the sanctions imposed by the Chinese Swimming Association’, read a FINA statement. ‘FINA has received the decisions issued on these two athletes, and is currently reviewing them. As for the 2016 cases, FINA was informed that CHINADA is presently conducting the results management process, and that a decision is still to come.’
The Chinese swimming association (CSA) said that it would be issuing a warning to Wang Lizhuo and An Jiabao in two statements issued on Monday – a minute apart. The statements also said that Lizhuo’s Navy swimming team and Jiabao’s Tianjin swimming team would each be fined 10,000 yuan (€1,360), plus their coaches would be fined 5,000 yuan (€680). The statement in relation to Jiabao mentioned celebrex, an anti-inflammatory pain medication.
The statements also reveal that both positives date from September 2015, which means that the CSA has taken six months to issue sanctions. Such a timescale is not unusual in doping cases, however one drawback of The Times’ exposé is that following the issuance of the sanctions, FINA and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) will have a difficult time assessing if China had planned to conceal the sanctions until after April’s Olympic trials.
Under Article 13.3 of the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code, WADA can appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) if it considers that an anti-doping organisation has ‘failed to render a timely decision’. However, no fixed timescale exists for issuing a decision following sample collection. ‘Given the different circumstances of each anti- doping rule violation investigation and results management process, it is not feasible to establish a fixed time period for an Anti-Doping Organization to render a decision before WADA may intervene by appealing directly to CAS’, explains the 2015 Code in comments to Article 13.3. ‘Before taking such action, however, WADA will consult with the Anti-Doping Organization and give the Anti-Doping Organization an opportunity to explain why it has not yet rendered a decision’.
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