Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
The International Canoe Federation (ICF) has suspended teams from Romania and Belarus with immediate effect after additional evidence was heard at the ICF Executive Board meeting on the 13th July in Krakow, Poland. The submitted evidence provided proof of systemic doping within the Romanian team with 11 of the nations athletes providing positive samples following out-of-competition testing in April 2016. The majority of cases relate to the use of meldonium after the substance was placed on the World Anti-Doping prohibited list on the 31st December 2015.
As part of the National Federation, the Romanian senior Canoe Sprint team and its entourage will now face a one-year ban from all International competitions including the Olympic Games. They could also incur a financial penalty for their actions or stiffer penalties if more evidence is uncovered. The Romanian Anti-doping Authority (ANAD) will decide the individual fate of each athlete in the coming weeks.
In a separate case, the Senior Beloruissian Canoe Sprint team has been given the same punishment as the Romanians with five of their male athletes found guilty of breaking ICF Anti-doping rules. Additional evidence was submitted to support their use of banned substances at a training camp in France earlier this year.
The French police are also working with the French Nation Anti-doping Agency (AFLD) and the ICF on a criminal case against the Belorussian team. Should further evidence of doping arise from this case then the ICF are likely to give more sanctions to the Federation and those involved. The ICF will now reallocate Olympic Quotas and is talking with National Federations, National Olympic Committees and the International Olympic Commitee to confirm the final athlete submission before the Rio 2016 Olympic Games Monday deadline.
The ICF has also confirmed that four Kazakhstan athletes were banned for two years each after submitting positive tests for methasterone, an oral anabolic steroid. The banned substance was subsequently proven to have been consumed as part of a nutritional supplement, underlining the need for all athletes to be especially vigilant when consuming supplements.
José Perurena, ICF President, said: “This is a clear message that the ICF has a zero-tolerance stance to cheats and that we will do everything within our powers to remove them from our sport. I am disappointed that we have reached this point, but I am sure our swift actions will act as a strong deterrent and underline that we support clean competition and nothing else will be tolerated. Our athletes need to be assured that they are racing as equals.”
• This media release was originally published on the International Canoe Federation’s (ICF) internet site on 16 July 2016. To access the original, please click here.
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