22 September 2022

The SII Anti-Doping Monitor – week ending 16 September 2022

Eighteen athletes from eight countries, competing in 13 sports, were involved in anti-doping proceedings that came to light in the week ending 16 September. Cases involved a three year ban given to an 18 year old Russian for use of erythropoietin (EPO); a finding of no fault for a 21 year former Russian junior national team member for tampering; an 18-month ban given to a Tokyo 2020 medalist for whereabouts violations; and a successful appeal by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) against a short sanction that allowed an athlete to compete at the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympics.

Sofia Grabova finished in 10th place in the 3km at this year’s Russian Juniors (click to open)…

Sofia Grabova (София Граброва) was sanctioned with a three year ban after a sample taken on 14 July returned an adverse analytical finding (AAF – or ‘positive test’) for Erythropoietin (EPO). The 18 year old finished tenth in the u20 3,000m at the Russian Junior Championships, which took place on 5 July (see right). ‘All results from the date of the positive sample are cancelled’, read a Statement from the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF), meaning that Grabova will keep her tenth place finish at the Russian Juniors.

Article 10.8.1 of the World Anti-Doping Code (click to open…)

The RusAF statement didn’t announce the reason for the one year reduction to the standard four year ban for an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV), neither did a Statement from the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA). However, Article 10.8.1 of the World Anti-Doping Code allows anti-doping organisations (ADOs) to offer athletes a one year reduction in their ban, without the need for a hearing or investigation, if they admit the ADRV within 20 days. 

As previously reported, it takes a team to dope – especially when young athletes are involved. It could be argued that allowing athletes to take the blame without the need for an investigation would be very convenient for any sporting organisation involved in systemic doping.

Another interesting case to emerge from Russia involved a finding of no fault issued to a 21 year old athlete for tampering with a doping control. Findings of no fault are still recorded as an ADRV, but as the athlete is judged as not being responsible for that ADRV, no sanction is issued and no period of ineligibility is served.

As usual, the RUSADA statement gave little details other than the sanction issued to Anna Alexandova (Анну Александрову). The 21 year old Nordic Combined skier was judged not to be at fault for tampering with a doping control. This raises obvious questions. If she was not responsible for tampering with a doping control, then who was and why? Her sanction was not mentioned by the Russian skiing federation, nor was it covered by the Russian media.

Finally, the IPC successfully appealed an expedited Decision by Swiss Sports Integrity that allowed a wheelchair curler to compete at the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympics. On 19 January, Françoise Jaquerod returned an AAF for hydrochlorothiazide. On 25 February, Swiss Sports Integrity judged that Jaquerod had been negligent in failing to apply for a therapeutic use exemption (TUE), and sanctioned her with a ten day ban from the date of her provisional suspension on 16 February.

As her ban expired on 26 February, Jaquerod was able to compete at the wheelchair curling competition at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, which took place from 5-12 March. As the IPC wasn’t immediately notified about the case, it couldn’t file an appeal against the Swiss Sports Integrity Decision until after the Games. All parties agreed to resolve proceedings without a hearing, and the settlement was approved by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). 

‘The athlete admitted the violations and the IPC accepted that the hydrochlorothiazide in the athlete’s sample was a result of her use of prescription medication used for legitimate therapeutic reasons’, read an IPC Statement. ‘The parties agreed, contrary to the approach taken by the tribunal at first instance, that the standard for No Significant Fault or Negligence is not reduced or lessened in the case of athletes with an impairment or disability (as previously confirmed by CAS jurisprudence). Therefore, the appropriate period of ineligibility for the athlete’s violation is six months, which will expire on 27 September 2022. The parties also agreed that even though the 10-day sanction imposed at first instance enabled the athlete to compete at the Games, the athlete’s results at the Games will not be disqualified because during the Games period she possessed a valid TUE for her use of hydrochlorothiazide.’

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! Also – a reminder. The SII Anti-Doping Monitor only features confirmed AAFs (‘positive tests’) or confirmed anti-doping rule violations (ADRVs).

Decision links

Santo Condorelli (FINA List of sanctions);

Ahmed Abdelwahed (AIU List of Provisional Suspensions);

Sumit Malik (Confirmed via CAS email);

Gianbernardino Velotti (NADO Italia Statement);

Vitaly Nemtsov (RUSADA Statement);

Sofia Grabova (RUSADA Statement & RusAF Statement);

Sergey Kochubey (RUSADA Statement);

Viktoria Grishechko (RUSADA Statement);

Akhmed Bogatyrev (RUSADA Statement);

Alexey Orlov (RUSADA Statement);

Anna Alexandrova (RUSADA Statement);

Maria Pravdina (RUSADA Statement);

Ivan Zubenko (RUSADA Statement);

Raina Beesley (SIA Statement);

Valeria Bhunu (ITF Statement):

Taylor Shadgett (CCES Statement & Decision);

Françoise Jaquerod (IPC Statement & original Decision);

Yannic Seidenberg (German Ice Hockey Federation Statement)

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