15th November 2021

The SII Anti-Doping Monitor – week ending 12 November 2021

Five athletes from four countries, competing in five sports, were involved in anti-doping proceedings this week. Only one of them appears to be a genuine case of cheating.

The case of Teddy Atine-Venel brought the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) limits on inhaled salbutamol back into the spotlight. The French runner has been sanctioned with a five month ban in relation to a sample given five months before the London 2017 World Athletics Championships, which means his three teammates face being stripped of their eighth place finish in the 4x400m final.

Atine-Venel’s urine contained the anti-asthma drug at lower levels than British Cyclist Chris Froome, who escaped sanction after a similar positive test at the 2017 Vuelta a España. As The Sports Integrity Initiative reported, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that double standards are in play.

A sanction issued to CrossFit athlete Sabrina Caron has been annulled by the French State. It is understood the Conseil d’Etat judged that due to her hearing being conducted via videoconference and not in person, her procedural rights had not been respected. Caron welcomed the judgment as proof of her innocence.

Modafinil, an anti-narcolepsy drug, continues to cause problems. Ryan Benoit was sanctioned with a ten month ban, despite being able to prove to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) that his use occurred outside of competition.

The anti-breast cancer drug Tamoxifen also continues to turn up in male samples. How Phillipe Marcil came to test positive will never be known. The Canadian powerlifter was offered a reduced two year sanction if he accepted his charge within 20 days. 

This brings us to what appears to be a case of genuine cheating. Nikoeimajd Mehran gave a sample during the Dubai 2019 World Para Athletics Championships, which upon Laboratory analysis was discovered not to be urine.  

It suits some people to take a simplistic view of anti-doping. Making statements such as “If it’s on the Prohibited List, don’t take it” allows them to take the moral high ground, and portray anybody who tests positive as a “doping cheat” who should be banned for life. As this week neatly illustrates, anti-doping is rarely that simple, however desperately some people want it to be.

That desperation isn’t hard to understand, because of the damage that doping cases wreak on the integrity of sporting competitions. This week, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) reallocated medals from five events at the London 2012 Olympics, which took place almost ten years ago.

The reason that these cases don’t feature in our table is that none of them are new. In April, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) reduced four year bans issued to Ivan Ukhov and Svetlana Shkolina to two years and nine months; Anna Nazarova was sanctioned with a two year ban in 2019; as was Ineta Radeviča and Jevgenij Shuklin; Nastassia Mironchyk-Ivanova was sanctioned with a two year ban back in 2016; Artur Taymazov was sanctioned for anti-doping rule violations (ADRVs) at both the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympics; and Davit Modzmanashvili was sanctioned last year.

The fact that it has taken so long to reallocate medals and results perhaps says more about the IOC’s processes. Medal winners sanctioned for doping must return their medals to the IOC before they can be reallocated. This can cause significant issues.

Please continue to send any cases we may have missed or 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

Teddy Atine-Venel (details);
Sabrina Caron (details);
Ryan Benoit;
Phillipe Marcil;
Nikoeimajd Mehran

You may also like...

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This