2nd October 2021

The SII Anti-Doping Monitor – week ending 1 October 2021

This week’s SII Anti-Doping Monitor recorded 22 doping cases involving 21 Athletes and a Coach from eight countries, competing in eight sports. The story that grabbed headlines was the life ban issued to Liu Ning, the Chinese former Coach of the Thai weightlifting team. During the lead up to the 2018 International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Championships and the Youth Olympic Games, ten Thai weightlifters returned adverse analytical findings (AAFs – or ‘positive tests’) for anabolic steroids. All blamed a pain relief gel given to them by Ning.

An Azerbaijani weightlifter will also be stripped of a Gold won in the 59kg category at the Moscow 2021 European Weightlifting Championships, after being sanctioned with an eight year ban for a second anti-doping rule violation (ADRV). A sample collected from Boyanka Kostova by the International Testing Agency (ITA) on 5 April returned an AAF for a metabolite of stanozolol. She was sanctioned with an eight year ban for a second offence, as she previously served a two year ban from 10 June 2016 until 10 June 2018 after reanalysis of a sample she gave during the London 2012 Olympics returned an AAF for dehydrochloromethyltestosterone (oral Turinabol).

Another lengthly ban was issued to former professional cyclist Björn Thurau. NADA Deutschland issued a nine year and six month sanction, claimed to be a record in Germany. Due to evidence from the Operation Aderlass investigation into the blood doping customers of Dr. Mark Schmidt, NADA Deutschland determined that Thurau not only used prohibited substances between 2010 and 2014, but sold them to other athletes as well.

A sanction published by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) allowed us to get a rare glimpse into a long suspected problem – youth doping. Anti-Doping Organisations (ADOs) normally do not publish the names of minor athletes, however Ivan Arshava (Ивана Аршаву) had the misfortune to turn 18 before RUSADA published his sanction, which dates back to an AAF when he was 17.

As Arshava’s anti-doping rule violation (ADRV) involves meldonium, it could be argued that not too much should be read into it. Meldonium is available over the counter in Russia, and is known by its brand name mildronate (Милдронат). However, it has been prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) since 2015, as the Maria Sharapova case brought to international attention.

Another interesting case involved a Serie A football Coach being sanctioned for abusive behaviour towards a doping control official. Gian Piero Gasperini, Coach of Atalanta, was sanctioned with a reprimand after telling his players to ignore doping control officers (DCOs) until they had finished a 7 February training session. Although the tests were completed at the end of the session, an ADRV has been recorded against Gasperini’s name, serving as a stark reminder that doping control attempts cannot be delayed.

Below, there are links to all the cases that feature in this week’s table, the details of which have been reported by The SII this week, and are included where relevant. Please continue to send any suggestions through to our 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!

Decision links

Liu Ning and Boyanka Kostova (details here)
Andrei Demanov, Arsen Borganov and Aleksey Emelyaneko
Björn Thurau (background here)
Pier Luigi Pasini, Luca Manfredi, and Emanuele Broccolini (details here)
Gian Piero Gasperini, Andrey Markov, and Ivan Arshava (details here)
Caio Vinicius Da Silva Pereira
Joshua Valentine
Federico Arioli and Mirko Talignani (details here)
Rogerio Bontorin
Jacob Lacoste
Luca Staccioli, Matteo Bravaccini, and Roberto Semenaro (details here)
Matt McWhirter

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