29th November 2021

The SII Anti-Doping Monitor – week ending 26 November 2021

Eleven athletes from ten countries, competing in seven sports, were involved in anti-doping proceedings that came to light this week. Four of the ten cases involved bans implemented for anti-doping rule violations (ADRVs), whilst the other seven cases involved provisional suspensions for adverse analytical findings (AAFs – or ‘positive tests’).

The case of Slovenian javelin record holder Martina Ratej once again illustrated how failure to consider context can stain an athlete’s career. Ratej’s Wikipedia page lists that she has been suspended for ‘doping’. However, as reported by The Sports Integrity Initiative, reanalysis of a sample given by the 40 year old returned an AAF for a substance often present in creams used to treat medical conditions. As such, Ratej doesn’t accept that she ever ‘doped’. She only dropped her appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against her two year ban, which expires on 8 March next year, because continuing would cost her €42,000.

A string of suspensions announced by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) shows how doping rarely happens in isolation. Two Russians returned AAFs at tournaments in Almaty, Kazakhstan; and two under 20 players returned AAFs at the World Tennis Tour M15 in the Ukrainian city of Chornomorsk. 

Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov…

There were two curious positive tests this week. A junior German weightlifter returned an AAF for dehydrochloromethyltestosterone (DHCMT). The brand name for this anabolic steroid is Turinabol, and the science behind the tests used to detect the substance was developed by Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, the former Director of the Moscow Laboratory who is under a witness protection programme in the US.

It appears odd that an 18 year old weightlifter would return an AAF for such an ‘old school’ doping substance. The German weightlifting federation and the German anti-doping agency (NADA Deutschland) have yet to comment.

Secondly, Sheffield Steelers announced that Anthony DeLuca had informed them that he had returned an AAF and has been provisionally suspended. The ice hockey player said that he couldn’t comment further until matters are finalised with UK Anti-Doping (UKAD), but he did indicate that the AAF doesn’t involve a substance considered to be performance enhancing (see below).

The biggest anti-doping stories often don’t involve the anti-doping testing and sanctioning system. Lance Armstrong never failed a doping test, and the Russian State got away with doping many of its athlete for many years, despite key figures in sports governance being aware of what was going on.

This week, Bernard Sainz was charged with illegal practice of medicine; illegal practice of pharmacology; and inciting use of prohibited substances in sport. The charges were advanced after Sainz, also known as ‘Dr. Mabuse‘, was filmed giving doping advice to athletes in 2016. He told the Court that his role was only to give advice.

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

Filip Pieczonka, Daria Mishina, Cagla Buyukakcay, Teymuraz Gabashvili, and Timur Mukhtarulin (details);
Kuftu Tahir Dadiso (details);
Martina Ratej (details);
Vicky Schlittig;
Michael Randall, and Stefano Lanzi (details);
Anthony DeLuca.

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