16 March 2016

2015 Pan American Games medalist given four-year ban

The Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) has sanctioned Mauricio Fiol Villanueva with a four-year ban, after he tested positive for stanozolol during the 2015 Toronto Pan American Games, where he won a silver medal in the 200m butterfly. The ban means that the Peruvian will lose his silver medal and will miss the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Fiol (pictured) maintains that he never intended to consume stanozolol, however the full decision shows that analysis undertaken on the 11 nutritional supplements he had been taking returned negative results for stanozolol. Fiol accepted that the sanction would be four years unless he could prove that his violation was not intentional, in which case a two-year ban would be levied. He had previously announced that he intended to contest the positive test. “The head of mission told me that I had tested positive, and my name has been muddied by a steroid I never consumed”, he said in a video. “Now it’s time to defend myself because I will not stop in my pursuit of the truth and if anyone doubts me, do not ask me, just let me exercise my right to a defence. If I’m going to talk, my defence has just begun.”

As well as the 11 supplements, Fiol had also received vitamin B injections and anti-inflammatory drug Norflex, prescribed and administered by a sports doctor recommended to him by Peruvian teammates. Fiol told the panel that the source of the positive test could have been further supplements he had been taking that had been discarded, or “horse meat in sausages”.

‘The athlete’s inability to answer the question relevant to the manner in which the substance entered his system leaves the Panel no choice but to consider he failed in discharging his burden of proof to allow him to argue the statutes through which a reduction of sanction may be contemplated’, read the decision. ‘Did the athlete establish on the basis of a balance of probability how the substance entered his system? The answer can only be negative and leaves no room for any other application of the rules.’

‘I’m sad and disappointed’, wrote Fiol on his Facebook page. ‘FINA applied the maximum penalty of four years suspension. What kills me is that the State left me totally alone.’

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