Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
Michael Jennings of Parramatta Eels has been provisionally suspended after a 21 September anti-doping test performed by Sport Integrity Australia returned an adverse analytical finding (AAF) for LGD-4033 (Lingradol) and Ibutamoren, Australia’s National Rugby League (NRL) has announced. “I am totally against any form of cheating in sport and am completely shocked to find myself in this position”, said Jennings, reported The Sydney Morning Herald. “I will do everything I can to clear my name”. In a statement, Parramatta Eels said that it would support Jennings.
In September last year, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) of World Athletics provisionally suspended South African sprinter Carina Horn after she returned an AAF for exactly the same substances as Jennings. She blamed contaminated supplements and told Eyewitness News that there had been delays in her case.
Swimming Australia is preparing to defend a four year ban issued to Shayna Jack in July last year, after she also returned an AAF for LGD-4033 (Lingradol). Jack appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), also blaming contaminated supplements. The CAS told SwimSwam that the hearing date has been kept secret at the request of all parties.
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Now the real fight begins. Today I received further notice in relation to my hearing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Nearly twelve months ago, my world was turned upside down due to allegations of using a prohibited substance in my sport. Despite a lifetime of competing clean and knowing that I had not used any prohibited substance, my life changed in an instance and I was pitchforked into an unknown world of lawyers, politics and machinations that was completely foreign to me. The process has been extremely arduous and debilitating at times. There are many aspects of the anti-doping system that are seriously flawed but possibly the worst element is the presumption of guilt that one has to bear. What sort of system infers that you are guilty of an alleged breach and the responsibility falls on you to prove your innocence? Now though, I have an opportunity to stand and fight for my career and reputation. I intend to win this fight and put myself back in the pool and reclaim my position as a member of the Australian swim team. Everyone knows what it is like to have something precious taken away from them and I am no different. However, regaining my team membership and opportunity to competitively swim again is not my sole objective. Throughout this ordeal, I have learnt a considerable amount about myself. I learnt that the purest pursuit for me was my sport of swimming. I learnt that my individuality and uniqueness was the grounds for my underlying strength. I became acutely aware of my residual determination and my absolute and all-encompassing desire for the truth to be revealed. My understanding of the value of positive mental health and the benefits of a strong and positive mind was reinforced. My belief in who I am and what I stand for was fortified and my understanding of how my message is one to be shared with others was cemented. Not everyone will fight a flawed system and find themselves ostracised from their friends and support group for something they did not do. If you do though, stand up and fight and know that your honour will always be defended if you tell the truth.
Witold Bańka, President of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), has indicated that the agency may...