Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
Thirteen athletes have been confirmed as testing positive for prohibited substances at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games – 11 were confirmed through emailed statements from the Pan American Sports Organisation (PASO), and two were confirmed by the National Olympic Committee (NOC). The results and medals won by the athletes in the 11 confirmed positives have been cancelled, confirmed PASO in emailed statements held by the Sports Integrity Initiative.
Those testing positive include Mauricio Fiol Villanueva from Peru, who took a silver medal in the men’s 200m butterfly on 14 July. In an 18 July statement, the Peruvian Olympic Committee (COP) confirmed that Fiol contests the finding. ‘Villanueva has requested analysis of the B sample taken on 12 July’, read an 18 July COP statement, which can be found on the COP’s internet site. ‘The result will be known within the next ten days’.
Wrestler Luz Clara Vázquez from Argentina, who took the bronze medal in the freestyle 69kg category, tested positive for a hormonal and metabolic modulator. She has accepted the finding. “I deeply regret having defrauded everyone who supported me in this way and, even more painfully, having harmed the image that Argentine sport presents to the world”, she said in a statement reported by Clarin, which claims the substance involved is GW501516.
GW501516, which is known by a variety of other names, was developed to burn fat whilst exercising, but was withdrawn from development after Glaxosmithkline found that it caused cancer in rodents. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) issued a warning about the substance in 2013, however the Belarus national anti-doping agency (NADA) recently sanctioned an athlete for using it. A 20 July statement from the Argentine Olympic Committee (COA) confirmed that it is investigating.
Meanwhile, the Colombian and Chilean NOCs confirmed that two cyclists have tested positive for doping, however these cases have not been confirmed by PASO. The Colombian Olympic Committee announced that cyclist Mára Luisa Calle had tested positive in a 22 July statement, however it did not reveal what she had tested positive for. The Chilean Olympic Committee told local media on 20 July that Carlos Oyarzun had tested positive for FG-4592. It is understood from local reports that Oyarzun has asked for his B sample to be analysed.
FG-4592 is a compound designed to increase an individual’s red blood cell count and is used to combat anaemia. As red blood cells carry oxygen around the body – specifically to the muscles – it can be used by athletes to enhance performance. It is understood that FG-4592 does’t raise blood pressure in the same way as EPO, thereby reducing the risk of a heart attack due to ‘thickened’ blood. In April, French race-walker Bertrand Moulinet admitted using FG-4592 to enhance performance.
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