11th September 2017

Second volleyball player returns clenbuterol positive

A second player has reportedly tested positive for clenbuterol at the finals of the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) Grand Prix, which took place in Nanjing, China. On 6 September, the Italian volleyball federation (FIP) confirmed that Miriam Sylla had tested positive for clenbuterol. Serbian player Ana Antonijevic has also tested positive for the substance, reports Corriere Della Sera, although the adverse analytical finding (AAF) has yet to be confirmed.

It is understood that players were housed at the same hotel in China, and food contamination is being considered as a possible source for the adverse analytical findings (AAFs). Clenbuterol is still used in animal feed despite being banned in the US since 1991 and by the European Union since 1996 – it has a Maximum Residue Limit (MRL) set by the same body. In 2011, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) sent a warning to athletes that food in Mexico and China could be contaminated with the substance.

Although it is understood that both players reported AAFs for low levels of clenbuterol, it is not a ‘specified substance’ on WADA’s Prohibited List, which means that there is no excuse for an AAF – even if the amount found is lower than required to produce an active physiological effect. In 2013, Alberto Contador found this out to his cost.

Last year, a documentary for ARD found that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided against pursuing clenbuterol cases, after low levels of the substance were found through retesting of samples given at the Beijing 2008 Olympics. This information could prove useful to both athletes in arguing their cases.

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