25 April 2023

The SII Anti-Doping Monitor – Week ended 21 April 2023

Thirty five athletes competing in 21 sports, from eleven countries, were involved in anti-doping proceedings that came to light in the week ended 21 April 2023. Twenty one of those cases involved athletes from either India (13) or Russia (8).

Cases involve a lifetime ban issued to a cheerleading coach for trafficking Cocaine to a young person; a footballer sanctioned with a two year ban due to cough syrup; a high jumper sanctioned after using medication prescribed to a friend’s grandmother; a swimmer who argues that giving blood and sample collection errors resulted in an atypical passport finding; and a successful appeal by an Bridge player, whose two year ban was overturned. 

In Russia, cases involved a Lawyer who represents athletes in anti-doping cases being sanctioned for an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV); a one year extension to a ban issued to an ice hockey player for competing while banned; and a two year ban issued to a modern pentathlete for whereabouts failures.

Under the World Anti-Doping Code, punishment for athlete support personnel involved in trafficking prohibited substances to a Protected Person is severe (click to open)…

Alex ‘Marcus’ Vargas admitted his own use of Cocaine as well as trafficking the stimulant to a young person during the Alberta Cold Snap Classic on 23 January last year, after the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) reviewed a 20 July 2022 Decision from the Alberta Cheer Association. Under the World Anti-Doping Code trafficking prohibited substances to a Protected Person, such as a young person, is considered a particularly serious offence. Vargas was sanctioned with a lifetime ban.

Footballer Viknesh was dropped by the Kerala Football Association (KFA) squad in February, following an adverse analytical finding (AAF – or ‘positive test’) for Terbutaline. India’s Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel (ADDP) accepted that Vinkesh had been prescribed medication to treat a cough and that this contained Terbutaline.

However, the ADDP Panel argued that Vinkesh had been negligent by failing to check whether Ascoril LS contained prohibited substances, and by failing to disclose the medication on his Doping Control Form (DCF). He was therefore sanctioned with a two year ban.

US High Jumper Inika McPherson was sanctioned with a shorter 16 month ban after failing to check medication given to her by a friend, which resulted in an AAF for Furosemide. In April 2022, McPherson was prescribed Tramadol and Ibuprofen to treat Plantar Fasciitis, and was instructed to use a walking boot.

On 2 June, she met with a friend at the home of her friend’s Grandmother. She explained about pain in her heel and her friend explained that her Grandmother took anti-inflammatories for her knee. McPherson took a pill offered to her by her friend, which she didn’t declare on her DCF when she was tested the following day.

McPherson’s friend provided a witness statement which said that she wasn’t aware that her Grandmother had been prescribed Furosemide. She argued that the Grandmother was suffering from Dementia and had mixed her pills together. This explanation was accepted by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), however it argued that McPherson’s negligence meant that a two year ban should be applied.

The American Arbitration Association (AAA) Panel disagreed and found that McPherson had shown, on the balance of probabilities, ‘no significant fault or negligence’. However it added – perhaps confusingly – that she bore ‘considerable fault’ for not checking the pill given to her by her friend. She was therefore sanctioned with a 16 month ban.

Hungarian swimmer Tamás Kenderesi announced that the anti-doping authorities are investigating an Atypical Finding (ATF), due to mistakes during a blood sample collection session a day after he had given blood. Kenderesi was forced to explain after journalists questioned why the Rio 2016 200m Butterfly Bronze medal winner had withdrawn from the national championships.

He argues that because his blood type is a rare Rh0, he regularly gives blood. He was selected for a blood test a day after giving 450ml of blood on 26 April last year. He argues that testers mistakenly recorded that he had received a blood transfusion, which influenced the parameters of his Athlete Biological Passport (ABP), which works by detecting fluctuations in blood values.

In a Facebook post (below), the Hungarian is critical of the handling of his blood samples, which he argues have affected the reliability of his ABP data. ‘Anyone can get into such a situation where they are innocently accused based solely on assumptions and an artificial mathematical model’, writes Kenderesi. ‘That is why, if I am innocently [convicted], I will, using all legal possibilities for the sake of myself and my fellow fair athletes, [to] prove that the doping charge is based on a false assumption, and at the same time, [to] deny the infallibility of the WADA biological passport system’. 

Sergey Lisin (Сергеем Лисиным) is a former professional speed skater who was a member of the Russian national team until 2017. He now represents athletes in anti-doping cases. In June, he was sanctioned for ‘repeated’ ADRVs based on historical evidence. Lisin appealed, but the Russian National Centre for Sports Arbitration upheld an eight year ban from 8 August 2017.

Konstantin Panov (Константина Панова) was sanctioned with a four year ban in February last year. His appeal against the sanction was dismissed by the Russian National Centre for Sports Arbitration in July. The professional ice hockey player, who currently plays for HSC Csíkszereda in Romania, has now been sanctioned for competing whilst subject to a sanction. His ban will now expire on 18 November 2026.

Egor Puchkarevsky (Егора Пучкаревского) is a modern pentathlete who qualified for the Rio 2016 Olympics after winning a Silver medal at the 2014 Russian National Championships and finishing sixth at the 2015 European Championships. He has been sanctioned with a two year ban for ‘whereabouts’ failures, ending on 31 March 2025. 

Elite athletes who are part of the registered testing pool (RTP) of a sporting organisation have to provide a location where they will be available for testing for one hour each day, in addition to their overnight locations and training schedules three months in advance, although this can later be amended. 

If an athlete incorrectly files such information, misses a test, or are not where they said they would be when Doping Control Officers (DCOs) arrive to test them, then a ‘whereabouts’ strike is recorded against them. Under Article 2.4 of the World Anti-Doping Code, three ‘whereabouts’ strikes in 12 months is judged to be equivalent to an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV), subject to a two year sanction. The ‘whereabouts’ rules are designed to ensure that elite athletes cannot avoid doping control.

Finally, Arvind Vaidya is free to compete again, after overturning a two year ban for an ADRV involving Chlortalidone on appeal. The Indian Bridge player was initially sanctioned with a two year ban in January. 

It is understood that Vaidya was on medication for hypertension, and didn’t realise that it contained the prohibited substance. India’s national anti-doping agency (NADA India) didn’t announce details of the case, but an updated List of Anti-Doping Appeal Panel (ADAP) cases detailed that Vaidya had been exonerated of all charges.

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).

Decision links

Mohamed Samy (AQIU List of suspended persons);

Besha Teshome (AIU List of provisional suspensions);

Bhavana Sharma, Kashish Malik, Richa Bhadauriya, Poorna Sri, Mohd Arshlan (NADA India ADDP sanction List);

Arvind Vaidya (NADA India ADAP sanction List);

Conor Benn (UKAD Statement);

Kamaldeep (NADA India ADDP sanction List, full Decision);

Sanjita Chanu (NADA India ADDP sanction List, full Decision);

Jibanlata Laishram Devi (NADA India ADDP sanction List, full Decision);

Vineet (NADA India ADDP sanction List, full Decision);

Viknesh (NADA India ADDP sanction List, full Decision);

Shivam Chaudhary (NADA India ADDP sanction List, full Decision);

Inika McPherson (USADA Statement, AAA Decision);

Michele Maccanti (NADO Italia Statement);

Ritesh Arjun Ethape (NADA India ADDP sanction List, full Decision);

Swiss Amateur Cyclist (Swiss Sport Integrity Statement);

Tatyana Karpunina (RUSADA Statement);

Pavel Danilov RUSADA Statement);

Lyudmila Kuzmenko (RUSADA Statement);

Egor Puchkarevsky (RUSADA Statement);

Yegor Kibakin (RUSADA Statement);

Konstantin Panov (RUSADA Statement, initial Sanction, rejection of appeal against sanction);

Artem Nikolaev (RUSADA Statement);

Denis Palin (RUSADA Statement);

Sergey Lisin (RUSADA Statement, initial Sanction);

Quentin Willey (USADA Statement);

Alex “Marcus” Vargas (CCES Statement, full Decision);

Daniel Simovic (Click Here to download ÖADR Statement);

Zachary Schober (USADA Statement);

Tamás Kenderesi (Facebook Statement); 

Corey Davis Jr. (NADO Italia Statement);

Angelo Peluso (NADO Italia Statement);

Franco Lamanna Miranda (NADO Italia Statement)

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