News 24th November 2021

Slovenian javelin star accepts two year ban

Slovenia’s javelin record holder Martina Ratej has dropped an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against a a two year ban, in a complicated case involving clostebol. A sample taken at the London 2012 Olympics was originally reported as negative by the London 2012 Anti-Doping Laboratory. Later reanalysis of that sample at the Lausanne Laboratory returned an adverse analytical finding (AAF – or ‘positive test’) for metabolites of clostebol.

Ratej’s explanation for her AAF (click to open…)

Ratej’s seventh place finish in the Javelin final was cancelled by the CAS Anti-Doping Division (ADD) in a 16 July 2020 ruling (PDF below). In that document, Ratej claimed to have been prescribed Trofodermin 0.5g cream whilst in Italy, following a medical incident (see right).

Trofodermin cream has been found to be responsible for a number of AAFs for clostebol, most famously in the Therese Johaug case. In 2004, following a claim made by a male athlete, a scientific Study found that having sex with somebody who had applied Trofodermin could result in an athlete reporting an AAF for clostebol.

The CAS ADD didn’t rule on the merits of Ratej’s defence (click to open…)

The CAS ADD didn’t rule on the merits of Ratej’s defence (see right). According to a statement published by the Slovenian athletics association (AZS), the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) of World Athletics gave the AZS jurisdiction to sanction Ratej. It then passed the procedure to the Slovenian Anti-Doping Organisation (SLOVADO).

SLOVADO concluded that ‘evidence and statements’ submitted by Ratej showed her ‘insignificant guilt’, and proposed a 14 month sanction. However in a 21 May 2021 Decision, the Doping Review Board (DRB) of World Athletics found that Ratej had not satisfactorily demonstrated how clostebol had entered her system.

Based on the DRB’s finding, SLOADO revised its sanction. Ratej will be banned for two years from 11 August 2021 and her results from 9 August 2012 to 9 August 2014 are disqualified. This will mean she will lose a Gold won at the 2013 Mediterranean Games.

The AIU’s sanction list (click to open) confirms Ratej’s ban will end on 8 March next year. As such, she has withdrawn her CAS appeal…

However, as Ratej’s ban takes into account the provisional suspension that began on 9 March 2020, it will end on 8 March next year (see right). Although she accepts the sanction, she doesn’t accept any guilt.

“I withdrew due to my financial situation, as the appeal itself would have cost €42,000”, she told STA. “Because of this I decided to end the proceedings as I have no money, even if I could have achieved something in the appeal process. I don’t earn enough from athletics to afford it. That’s why I preferred to accept the punishment.”

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