5 September 2022

The SII Anti-Doping Monitor – week ending 2 September 2022

Nine athletes from six counties, competing in seven sports, were involved in anti-doping proceedings that came to light over the past week. Cases involved a positive test from a Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games winner that could jeopardise relay Golds; an Army Sergeant sanctioned for a substance used to treat traumatic brain injury; a 12 year ban issued to a cyclist for refusing follow up tests to determine erythropoietin (EPO) use; a supplement retailer sentenced to prison; and a sporting body mistakenly accusing an athlete of tampering.

Grace Nwokocha returned an adverse analytical finding (AAF – or ‘positive test’) for Ostarine and Lingradol, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) of World Athletics confirmed on Friday. Nwokocha was part of the Nigerian 4x100m team that took Gold at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. If Nwokocha is unable to explain the AAF and it is confirmed as an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV), then her teammates Tobi Amusan, Favour Ofili, and Rosemary Chukwuma will also lose their Gold medals.

Sargeant Ellis Coleman serves in the US Army, but is also a successful Greco-Roman Wrestler. During his service, he sustained ‘several’ traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), which cause him pain and require medical treatment. His Coach recommended Neupanex, which he had heard could help relieve TBIs. In consultation with his Army medical advisor, who confirmed that the product had been ‘third party tested’, he opted to try Neupanex. 

At an out of competition (OOC) test on 15 December 2021, he returned an AAF for Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). DHEA was listed as an ingredient in Neupanex. An American Arbitration Association (AAA) Panel ruled that the AAF was not intentional, and sanctioned him with a two year ban expiring 28 February 2024. 

Nelson Trujillo is a successful Masters cyclist. On 5 February 2022, after the Tour of South Florida, he returned an atypical finding (ATF) for EPO. An ATF is not considered as a positive test (AAF) under the World Anti-Doping Code, but an abnormal test result that requires further investigation.

On 2 May, almost three months later, the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) attempted to take urine and blood samples from Trujillo in follow up tests. He refused to provide a blood sample, and was sanctioned with a 12 year ban expiring on 23 August 2034.

Tanya Puccini, a supplement retailer, was sentenced to a three year probationary prison term for selling mislabelled Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMs). ‘These drugs were sold in bottles labeled “not for human consumption” and “for research purposes only”’, read a Statement from the Department of Justice (DoJ). ‘Puccini nonetheless provided verbal, printed and occasionally written instructions to purchasers for personal use of the drugs for fitness gains, such as muscle growth. For example, Puccini provided a written note to a customer in which she represented that the drugs were not “technically” SARMs, but included instructions for using the drugs to promote muscle growth. Altogether, from December 2017 through June 2021, Puccini made retail sales of at least $107,486 of unapproved PEDs.’

Finally, the AIU was forced to issue an apology to Mark Otieno Odhiambo, after falsely stating that it had accused the Kenyan of tampering with a doping control. ‘Information posted recently on the Athletics Integrity Unit’s website and its Twitter account erroneously stated that Mark Otieno Odhiambo was charged with Tampering’, read a Statement. ‘The AIU apologises for this error and confirms that Mr Odhiambo’s case only concerns the Presence/Use of a Prohibited Substance’. 

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

Unnamed French footballer (AFLD Decision);

Mariano Tammaro (ITF Statement & Decision);

John Murphy (IHRB Decision);

Ellis Coleman (USADA Statement & Decision);

Clint Jordan (USADA Statement);

Olga Samylova (RusAF Statement);

Tanya Puccini (DoJ Statement);

Nelson Trujillo (USADA Statement);

Nzubechi Grace Nwokocha (AIU Provisional Suspension List)

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