The trouble with Ostarine: Jimmy Wallhead’s
16th March 2018
Eighteen athletes from 13 countries, competing in ten sports, were involved in anti-doping proceedings that came to light in the past week. Cases involved confirmation that the British 4x100m team will be stripped of its Tokyo 2020 Silver Medal after CJ Ujah received a 22 month ban; An investigation by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) into the use of Triamcinolone in Kenya after cases involving three distance runners; and India’s Discus record holder given a one year reduction in her ban for admitting an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV), despite the AIU not believing her explanation that supplements were to blame.
CJ Ujah has been consistent in blaming contaminated supplements for his 6 August 2021 adverse analytical finding (AAF) for Ostarine and S-23 at the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics. ‘The Athlete has established that the ADRV was not intentional […] as a result of the Athlete’s ingestion of a contaminated supplement’, reads the AIU’s Decision. Under a Case Resolution Agreement (CRA) which recognised his prompt admission, his two year ban was reduced to 22 months.
Not all athletes have the financial resources available to Ujah to conclusively prove supplement contamination. Sometimes, even when they attempt to prove such contamination things can go awry, as Indian Discus record holder Kamalpreet Kaur found out.
On 28 March, Kaur reported an adverse analytical finding (AAF – or ‘positive test’) for metabolites of Stanozolol. Kaur declared a total of 18 supplements on her Doping Control Form (DCF) – Protein GNC, Fish Oil, Multivitamin (MyProtein), HMB, Muscle Tech, Creatine (MyProtein), Triflex-GNC, BCAA, Collagen Regenerate (BSC), Ashwagandha (AMP Vitals), Durolane, Osteocync, Rosren HD, Rosiflex Trio, Zinc, Vitamin C, Glutamine, and Pulmocef cv500. Analysis of four of these supplements at a New Delhi Laboratory revealed ‘traces of steroid’ in a protein supplement (Protein GNC).
However, the AIU didn’t trust the Laboratory’s analysis. ‘The AIU submitted the Athlete’s full explanation in relation to the use of the Protein Supplement to the AIU scientific advisor and his expert opinion was that the use of the referenced Protein Supplement – as documented and described by the Athlete – was not compatible with the Adverse Analytical Finding as a matter of pharmacokinetics’, reads the full Decision.
The AIU charged Kaur with an ADRV on 7 September. On 27 September, exactly 20 days later, Kaur accepted the charges and admitted the ADRV.
The reason that this is significant is because under Article 10.8.1 of the World Anti-Doping Code, an athlete can receive a one year reduction in their ban if they accept an ADRV within 20 days. Kaur therefore received a three year ban ending on 29 March 2025.
It is clear that Kaur believes that her supplements were to blame for her ADRV, but she wasn’t able to conclusively prove it. Her acceptance of the ADRV is not an admission to intentional doping, but acceptance that she wasn’t able to conclusively prove the source of Stanozolol metabolites in her sample.
Where Article 10.8.1 could potentially be problematic is its ability to close cases without the need for a hearing, which could be used to hamper investigations into systemic doping. This week, the AIU provisionally suspended two Kenyan distance runners, including 2021 Boston Marathon winner Diana Kipyokei, after an ‘extensive investigation’ into the use of Triamcinolone Acetonide.
‘The cases announced today are part of a recent trend in Kenyan athletics regarding triamcinolone acetonide, with ten Kenyan athletes testing positive for that prohibited substance between 2021 and 2022’, read a Statement. ‘Within the same time period in athletics globally, there have been just two positive triamcinolone acetonide AAFs for athletes from all other countries. In the four years from 2017 to 2020, there were only three Kenyan AAFs for triamcinolone acetonide. Yesterday, the AIU announced that it had banned Mark Kangogo – the initial winner of the Sierre-Zinal 2022 mountain race in Switzerland – for three years for the presence of triamcinolone acetonide in his sample. In addition to the Kipyokei, Lempus and Kangogo cases, the AIU currently has four open investigations into AAFs for triamcinolone acetonide for Kenyan athletes; with two matters pending with ADAK.’
Kangogo was never formally charged by the AIU, because he admitted the ADRV shortly after being notified of his AAF. He was therefore given a three year ban without the need for a hearing. Kangogo is a member of the Milimani Runners trail team which is based in Iten, a Kenyan area that has been plagued by doping problems.
Allowing athletes to close a case by assuming all responsibility for an ADRV is a very convenient way for any organisations involved in systemic doping to avoid detection. Could valuable information have been lost by closing the case against Kangogo without a full hearing? Unfortunately, the AIU doesn’t comment on investigations that are ongoing.
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).
Falco Teleo Lopes Da Silva Neto (AFLD Decision);
Érick Deconinck (AFLD Decision);
Katarzyna Milczarek, and Agusti Elias Lara (FEI List of Cases in Progress);
Mohammed Azizi (Iran NADO Statement);
Bobby Green (UFC/USADA Statement);
Alireza Abaeian (Iran NADO Statement);
John Campbell (West Indies Players Association Statement);
James Maloney (Sport Integrity Australia Statement);
Yulia Gutorova (RUSADA Statement);
Maria Luana Grigoriu (ITA Statement);
Luis Patiño (ITIA Statement);
Diana Kipyokei and Betty Wilson Lempus (AIU Statement)
Twenty three athletes from ten countries, competing in ten sports, were involved in anti-doping proceedings...
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