23 December 2022

The SII Anti-Doping Monitor – week ending 23 December 2022

Fifteen athletes from five countries, competing in six sports, were involved in anti-doping proceedings that came to light during the last week. Three Kenyan cases involving tampering with medical documentation prompted the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) of World Athletics to issue an information sheet about the ‘Doping Crisis in Kenyan Athletics’. 

‘Kenyan doping is not centralised’, it reads. ‘However, it is becoming increasingly more sophisticated. Because of the financial incentives to dope, there is a free market demand for doping products and methods and many persons are willing to supply the athletes. These transactions range from the very basic supply of products to more sophisticated networks of conspirators coming together to use methodologies to avoid detection.’

The AIU said that the Kenyan government has pledged US$5 million per year, which will be used for an additional 4,000 Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) tests per year, as well as for educational, legal and investigatory resources. ‘The plan is to improve Kenya’s entire anti-doping infrastructure significantly, with a particular focus on testing to reduce the structural weaknesses that currently exist’, continues the Statement. ‘AIU covers the top tier of Kenyan athletes but testing of the second tier of professional road runners must be increased significantly to ensure they are operating in a controlled environment’.

Diana Kipyokei will lose her 2021 Boston Marathon title after a test taken after the event resulted in an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV) involving Triamcinolone, which is prohibited when administered via oral, intravenous, intramuscular or rectal route. Kipyokei initially claimed to have visited a Doctor who administered two injections of Cortisone. She then submitted medical documents suggesting she had been treated with Cortisone at a Hospital. 

Kipyokei then admitted paying the Doctor for medical treatment, and paying him again for medical documentation to explain the treatment he had administered to her. The AIU found this documentation to be fake. She was sanctioned with a six year ban, expiring on 27 June 2028.

Purity Rionoripo provided medical documents suggesting that she had been prescribed Lasix (a commercial name for Furosemide) following an operation. The AIU found that the documents were genuine, but had been manipulated to indicate a prescription for Lasix. 

Rionoripo was sanctioned with a two year ban, as the AIU couldn’t prove that her ADRV for Furosemide was intentional. She was also sanctioned with an additional four year ban for tampering with a doping control. 

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

Her actions included stating that she had not declared Lasix on her Doping Control Form (DCF) due to her mother’s ill health. Despite this, the AIU allowed Rionoripo a one year reduction in her sanction for admitting and accepting her sanction within 20 days of being charged.

Betty Wilson Lempus was provisionally suspended in October after being charged with an ADRV involving Triamcinolone, plus an additional charge of tampering. She had reported an adverse analytical finding (AAF – or ‘positive test’) in September 2021, but was cleared by the French anti-doping agency (AFLD) after producing medical documentation. 

Following consultation with the AIU, the AFLD revoked its initial Decision on 16 November 2022 and handed results management responsibility to the AIU. The AIU has now charged Lempus, which is why it is considered a ‘new’ case.

Mathias Flückiger, Silver medal winner at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, was provisionally suspended in August following an AAF for Zenarol. It is understood that the Disciplinary Chamber of the Swiss Olympic Committee found that the amount detected in his sample was so small that it should never have been reported as an AAF. 

‘After around 120 days, the Swiss Olympic (DK) disciplinary body decided that the atypical Zeranol test result should not be counted as a positive doping sample’, read a Statement from the mountain biker. ‘This finally lifts my temporary ban. For me, this is a very big and important interim success in the struggle to prove my innocence.

‘I have never doped. The decision of the Disciplinary Chamber is an extremely great relief for me. It was the worst five months of my life.’ 

Swiss Sport Integrity indicated that it disagrees with the Decision to lift his provisional suspension. ‘Swiss Sport Integrity remains of the opinion that on the basis of the numerous investigations carried out an adverse analytical finding was found and that the provisional suspension was therefore necessary’, read a Statement. ‘Swiss Sport Integrity will review this decision and take appropriate action’.

American athlete Lasinda Demus could receive a London 2012 400m Hurdles Gold, if the International Olympic Committee (IOC) verifies an AIU Decision to cancel Natalya Antyukh’s results. The Russian was initially sanctioned based on data retrieved from the Moscow Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) which indicated doping, but a protracted appeal process meant that there was no final decision on whether her London 2012 Gold should stand until this week.

Three time Olympic weightlifting champion Xiaojun Lyu has been provisionally suspended following an AAF for Erythropoietin (EPO). EPO is normally used in endurance sports, as it helps stimulate red blood cells, which carry oxygen to muscles.

Europol and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) welcomed the success of Operation Shield, which took doping and medical substances worth €40 million off the market. ‘During the operation, law enforcement officers dismantled 59 criminal groups and arrested or reported to the judicial authorities 349 suspects’, read a Europol Statement. 

‘Simultaneously, authorities seized massive amounts of misused, falsified or counterfeit medicines, doping products and substances and illegal food and sport supplements, as well as counterfeit COVID vaccines, sanitary products and medical devices’. A WADA Statement said that 48 AAFs had resulted from intelligence amassed during the investigation. 

Please continue to send any cases we may have missed or suggestions through to the 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

Andrea Mocchi (NADO Italia Statement);

Maurizio Ungalli (NADO Italia Statement);

Armando Marzano (NADO Italia Statement);

Salvatore Maresca (NADO Italia Statement);

Lorenzo Milani (NADO Italia Statement);

Christian Barchi (NADO Italia Statement);

Luigino D’Ambrosio (NADO Italia Statement);

Giovanni Battista Vendemia (NADO Italia Statement);

Katia Pilla (NADO Italia Statement);

Mathias Flückiger (Swiss Sport Integrity Statement, athlete Statement, original provisional suspension Statement);

Diana Chemtai Kipyokei, Purity Cherotich Rionoripo, Betty Wilson Lempus (AIU Statement, Kipyokei Decision, Rionoripo Decision);

Natalya Antyukh (AIU Statement);

Xiaojun Lyu (ITA Statement)

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