The trouble with Ostarine: Jimmy Wallhead’s
16th March 2018
Ten athletes from nine countries, competing in nine sports, were involved in anti-doping proceedings that came to light during the last week. Cases included the stripping of a London 2012 Gold Medal from a hurdler; a 19 year old triple jumper; a Polish international footballer; a deaf judoka and a national wheelchair rugby league player.
Natalya Antyukh (Наталья Антюх) was previously sanctioned with a four year ban after information retrieved from the Moscow Laboratory indicated that she had used multiple prohibited substances. A 7 April 2021 Award by a sole Arbitrator at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) imposed the four year ban. However Antyukh successfully challenged the seven year disqualification of her results from 30 June 2013 to 7 April 2021.
A CAS Award on 13 June 2022 upheld the four year ban, but ruled that her results should only be disqualified from 30 June 2013 to 31 December 2015. The Russian Anti-Doping Agency’s (RUSADA) Preliminary Review Commission for anti-doping rule violations (ADRVs) recently ruled that her results from 15 July 2012 to 29 June 2013 should also be annulled, meaning she will lose the Gold Medal she won in the 400m at the London 2012 Olympics.
Fernanda Maita finished fourth in the triple jump at the 2022 World Athletics u20 Championships. A sample she gave at the event, on 6 August, returned an adverse analytical finding (AAF – or ‘positive test’) for Ostarine.
As Maita accepted the charge within 20 days, no investigation was held into how the 19 year old obtained the investigative selective androgen receptor modulator (SARM) and she was sanctioned with a three year ban. Ostarine is easily available to purchase online.
Under Article 10.8.1 of the World Anti-Doping Code, athletes can receive a one year reduction to a four year ban if they accept the charge within 20 days, eliminating the need for sporting organisations to hold a hearing. By instructing athletes to accept a charge within 20 days, organisations involved in systemic doping could utilise this provision of the Code to avoid a hearing or investigation.
Of course, there is no evidence that this has occurred in Maita’s or any other case. But this is perhaps because no investigation or hearing takes place if an athlete accepts such a charge.
J1 League club Nagoya Grampus is down a Striker, after the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) sanctioned Jakub Świerczok with a four year ban expiring on 9 December 2025. Świerczok has confirmed that he will be appealing to the CAS. ‘Regarding the contract between Świerczok and the club, we are currently negotiating with Świerczok through a lawyer’, read a Statement from the Japanese club.
‘I have never doped and, after time-consuming and expensive investigations, I have established that the positive test was caused by a dietary supplement which was contaminated with Trimetazidine’, read a Statement from the former Polish international on Instagram (below). ‘For clarity, Trimetazidine was not listed as an ingredient of the dietary supplement, and there was no reason to suspect that the supplement, which was from a reputable manufacturer, contained Trimetazidine.
‘I have also voluntarily taken, and passed, a polygraph test which confirms that I did not intentionally ingest Trimetazidine. I was therefore convinced that the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) Tribunal would accept my explanation (which was corroborated by independent expert scientific evidence) and would sympathise with my situation. However, and unfortunately, that was not the case.
‘That may be explained by the fact that, as the AFC hearing progressed, it became apparent that some of the Judges had not even read my explanation or any of the evidence that I had submitted, and that the tribunal as a whole had no familiarity with anti-doping regulations. To make matters worse, one of the Judges appeared to fall asleep whilst my lawyers were presenting my case.’
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As reported last week, Russian figure skater Kailma Valieva (Ками́ла Вали́ева) also returned an AAF for Trimetazidine in December 2021. Her provisional suspension at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics was controversially overturned due to her status as a minor.
In 2018, Nadezhda Sergeeva (Надежда Сергеева) came to a settlement agreement with the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) over an ADRV involving Trimetazidine at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics. The Settlement Agreement – a copy of which is held by The Sports Integrity Initiative – reveals that the source of Sergeeva’s AAF was a contaminated supplement.
A lawsuit was launched by Sergeeva against Russia’s Federal and Medical Biological Agency (FMBA), which is responsible for preparing Russian athletes for international competition. She alleged that the FMBA had given her the supplement leading to her AAF. The lawsuit was dismissed by the State courts.
At the time, the FMBA said that it had tried to prevent Sergeeva from competing because of a heart condition. Valieva’s mother also said that the 15 year old was taking one of three supplements listed on her doping control form (DCF) to treat a heart condition (see right).
Świerczok’s CAS appeal could therefore have implications for the Valieva case, if he manages to prove that a contaminated supplement is to blame for his AAF. As reported last week, the Russian State Duma recently discussed a Bill designed to empower the FMBA with issuing ‘medical rehabilitation and recovery’ to Russia’s athletes. Does the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) have access to any lists of supplements that the FMBA provides to Russian athletes?
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).
Masoud Rastegar (Iran NADO Statement);
Arika Skoog (USADA Statement);
Giuseppe Corsello (NADO Italia Statement);
Luigino D’Ambrosio (NADO Italia Statement);
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