24th May 2021

Champion shooter implicated in doping sabotage case

Former World Champion shooter Péter Sidi has been implicated in sabotaging team mate István Péni into reporting an adverse analytical finding (AAF) at the March 2021 World Cup in New Delhi. The International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) cleared Péni on 20 May, after he reported an AAF for furosemide at the World Cup.

‘Athlete István Pénz is innocent of the doping case in question’, read a letter from Dr. James Lally, Chairman of the ISSF Medical and Anti-Doping Committee, quoted in a statement from Hungary’s shooting federation (MSSF). ‘There was sabotage against István Péni. Hungarian sports shooter Péter Sidi clearly, visibly, irregularly, and illegally entered the hotel room of István Péni and stayed for 45 minutes. Péter Sidi did not give an adequate explanation to three questions asked by the President of the MSSF: On whose behalf did you enter István Péni’s room? Who got the key to enter the room? What were you doing in the room?’

Rules on ‘sabotage’ within the World Anti-Doping Code…

Sidi has denied any wrongdoing in a statement issued to Hungarian news organisation 24.hu. He argues that the decision was taken based on a video from the hotel, the origin of which is unknown. He argues that the situation has been engineered to prevent his participation in the upcoming European Championships in Osijek, in which Péni has been cleared to compete.

The MSSF statement said that the ISSF had carried out laboratory tests which clearly showed the presence of furosemide in boxes of vitamins used by Péni. However, it added that similar tests on unopened boxes showed no presence of furosemide. 

The definition of ‘tampering’ within the Code…

The Sports Integrity Initiative has asked both the ISSF and the MSSF whether any further action will be taken against Sidi, who is currently suspended. The World Anti-Doping Code allows an athlete accused of a doping offence to eliminate a sanction if they can prove that sabotage occurred (Articles 10.5 and 10.6 – see above right). Sidi’s actions would appear to fit the definition of ‘tampering’ within the Code (see above left).

ISSF rules on bipods…

At the World Cup, Péni and teammate Zavan Pekler withdrew in protest (see below) against Sidi’s use of a bipod glued to the end of the barrel of his gun. The ISSF Rifle Equipment Control Guide for the World Cup prevents such use of bipods (see right). Sidi argued that he was using the attachment as a U-form balance weight, which he said is permitted, reported ESPN.

It is understood that Péni and Pekler withdrew after confronting Sidi, who refused to remove the attachment. It is understood that Pekler would gain Sidi’s place if he remains suspended for the upcoming European Championships.

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