25th June 2020

20yr old swimmer gets one year ban for applying wrong eczema cream

A 20 year old swimmer, who was 19 at the time of his doping test, has been sanctioned with a one year ban for applying a pea-sized amount of the wrong eczema cream during the night, which resulted in an adverse analytical finding (AAF) for clostebol. The Full Decision (PDF below) outlines that Sport Ireland accepted that Robbie Powell bore no signifiant fault or negligence for his AAF, backdating his sanction to start on 28 November 2019, the date of his test. The amount of clostebol in his sample was 1.3ng/mL, or 1.3 billionth of a gram in one thousandth of a litre of urine, which the Rome Laboratory said was consistent with his explanation.

As can be seen from the picture heading this article, Powell had two tubes of eczema cream that looked very similar in his washrag. Denvercort was prescribed by the Irish team doctor during the Argentina 2018 Youth Olympics and does not contain clostebol. Trofodermin does contain clostebol, and Powell couldn’t explain how the second cream came into his possession. Powell explained that he had meant to apply the Denvercort on the night of 26/27 November when his itchy hands prevented him from sleeping, but applied the wrong cream.

The Full Decision outlines that he went to considerable effort in contacting athletes he had shared a room with during various international championships in which he had competed. These included the European Long Course Championships in Glasgow; the European Junior Championships in Helsinki; the Irish Long Course Championships in Dublin; the World Long Course Championships in South Korea; and the European Short Course Championships in Glasgow.

The decision also mentions that Powell had been on holiday to Italy during the period in question. Italy was where Therese Johaug’s doctor purchased Trofodermin to treat her blistered lips, resulting in an extended 18 month sanction that prevented the cross country skier from competing in the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics. The conclusion of Powell’s ban in November this year means he should still have time to qualify for the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics, where he hopes to represent Ireland in the 4x200m freestyle relay.

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