Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
French race-walker Bertrand Moulinet had admitted testing positive for FG-4592, a compound designed to increase an individual’s red blood cell count in order to combat anaemia. ‘I inform you that I have just tested positive for a substance banned under the World Anti-Doping Code, FG-4592’, read a statement on Moulinet’s Facebook page. ‘The police came to my home this morning to perform a search. I recognised that I have made use of this molecule and decided to forego analysis of the B sample. I apologise to the people who placed hope in me and who supported me during sports competitions. I can only say that the effects are not worth the risk, and I’ll now have to face the consequences of my actions’.
The French anti-doping agency (AFLD) confirmed that its analytical department had confirmed, for the first time, an adverse analytical finding for Hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs) belonging to the S2 class on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Prohibited List. This section concerns peptide hormones, growth factors, related substances and mimetics – and includes FG-4592. It also confirmed that a police raid had taken place on an athlete’s home.
‘This substance has the property of stimulating the endogenous production of EPO [erythropoietin]’, read a 23 April statement from the AFLD. ‘Following the disclosure of the result of the analysis by the AFLD, a police operation was yesterday conducted at the home of the athlete with the help of local police authorities, in accordance with the protocol of collaboration between the AFLD and the Central Office for the fight against harm to the environment and public health (OCLAESP) under Article L.232-19 of the French Sports Code’.
It is understood that FG-4592 is a relatively new substance available in pill form, which works in combating anaemia by increasing an individual’s ability to produce red blood cells. As red blood cells contain iron, this helps combat anaemia, but red blood cells also carry oxygen around the body – specifically to the muscles. It is also understood that FG-4592 doesn’t raise blood pressure in the same way as EPO, reducing the risk of heart attacks.
Moulinet (pictured) finished eighth during the London 2012 Olympic Games 20km walk. No decision has yet to be made on when a hearing on potential sanctions will take place.
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