The trouble with Ostarine: Jimmy Wallhead’s
16th March 2018
Twenty six athletes from 13 countries, competing in 13 sports, were involved in anti-doping proceedings that came to light in the two weeks ending 17 February 2023. In the past fortnight, headlines were dominated by the Peter Bol situation. The Australian 800m specialist was provisionally suspended on 20 January after analysis of his A sample returned an adverse analytical finding (AAF – or ‘positive test’) for recombinant (synthetic) Erythropoietin (rEPO). He immediately requested analysis of his B sample.
On Valentine’s Day, Athletics Australia announced that this had returned an atypical finding (ATF), resulting in the lifting of his provisional suspension. ‘An ATF is not the same as a negative test result’, read a Statement from Sport Integrity Australia, which outlined that its investigation is ongoing. ‘An ATF is a report from a WADA-accredited laboratory which requires further investigation as provided by the World Anti-Doping Code – International Standard for Laboratories 2021 or related Technical Documents’.
EPO is a naturally occurring hormone. As the WADA Technical Document for EPO analysis spells out, differentiating between natural and synthetic EPO is a complicated process. The document outlines (see right) that when results from various analytical methods are inconclusive (e.g. presence of interferences, or the band(s) intensity is too low to ensure reliable identification), the analysis shall be reported as an ATF.
It is understood that analysis of Bol’s A sample resulted in one of five bands returning a minor AAF, and his B sample returned an ATF. Analysis of the B sample must confirm the results of the A sample for an AAF – or positive test – to be reported. Following further analysis, this could still happen.
As his Instagram feed reveals, Bol thought that the B sample case had exonerated him (see below). It has been reported that he faced a similar issue in 2021. However as analysis did not confirm an AAF he was not notified, as is protocol under the World Anti-Doping Code (the reasoning behind this is that there is no ‘positive test’ to report).
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Bol has twice faced inconclusive EPO results. Scientists have questioned the subjective nature of tests used to distinguish synthetic EPO from natural EPO. As such, his situation is likely to become a test case about whether the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) analytical methods for EPO are reliable. It is likely to be a case that both sides are determined to win.
The past fortnight also involved two year bans issued to three Kenyan runners, after the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) accepted that AAFs were due to medical treatment. At the end of January, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) sanctioned Betty Wilson Lempus after ADAK helped it identify that medical documents used to explain an AAF for Triamcinolone had been forged.
Lifetime bans issued to two weightlifting coaches were also lifted. Eric Chevrier was sanctioned with a lifetime ban in 1998 for a second doping offence, while he was still competing. Under anti-doping rules, an athlete can apply to have their sanction reduced when more recent anti-doping rules would have resulted in a shorter period of ineligibility.
In 2008, he applied to the Canadian Center for Ethics in Sport (CCES) for reinstatement and in 2010, was reinstated as an athlete only. His coaching ban remained. However he reapplied for full reinstatement as under the 2021 Canadian Anti-Doping Program (CADP) rules, he would have received an eight year ban. He is now free to coach athletes having served a 24 year ban.
Khaled Korany is also free to return to coaching, after he overturned a life ban issued in January last year at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The Egyptian coach argues that he was made a scapegoat by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), after seven weightlifters returned AAFs for metandienone at a training camp. He now plans to take legal action against the IWF, which still lists his life ban on its internet site.
It is understood that Korany was asked to take charge of Egypt’s team for a few weeks ahead of the 2016 African Youth and Junior Championships. The AAFs were recorded at a a training camp before the Championships, and five of the athletes were minors. The IWF’s rules said that anybody responsible for an AAF involving a minor would receive a lifetime ban.
Please continue to send any cases we may have missed or suggestions through to the editor by clicking here. Also, if you’re an athlete, national anti-doping organisation (NADO) or other Results Management Authority and you’d like us to cover a case that you’re involved with, please get in touch! Also – a reminder. The SII Anti-Doping Monitor only features confirmed AAFs (‘positive tests’) or confirmed anti-doping rule violations (ADRVs).
Konstantin Shikhov (IPC Statement);
Eric Chevrier (CCES Statement);
Nada Abbas (ITA Statement);
Divine Oduduru (AIU Statement);
Juan Carlos Osorio Hernández (ITIA Statement);
Sonny Vargas (MLB Statement);
Alejandra Echeverri (USADA Statement);
Stefano Battaglino (ITIA Statement);
Khaled Korany (Instagram Statement);
Dominik Fuhrer (SSI Statement);
Hadi Ghorbani (Iran NADO Statement);
Ivan Tsaplin (RUSADA Statement);
Artem Tsepelev (RUSADA Statement);
Daria Krayushnikova (RUSADA Statement)
Ivan Smirnov (RUSADA Statement)
Vadim Klimenishchev (RUSADA Statement);
Denis Maslov (RUSADA Statement);
Grigory Markaryants (RUSADA Statement);
Beatrice Carletti (NADO Italia Statement)
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