3rd December 2021

The SII Anti-Doping Monitor – week ending 3 December 2021

Eight athletes from seven countries, competing in seven sports, were involved in anti-doping proceedings that came to light this week. Two athletes from different countries and different sports returned adverse analytical findings (AAFs – or ‘positive tests’) for remarkably similar substances, however due to a new provision of the 2021 World Anti-Doping Code, we won’t discover how that happened.

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

Article 10.8.1 of the 2021 Code allows athletes who accept a doping charge within 20 days to receive a one year reduction to a four year ban without the need for a hearing. The provision is designed to save anti-doping organisations and athletes time, stress, and money. However, it is increasingly becoming apparent that it is shoehorning athletes who don’t accept that they are guilty into accepting an ADRV, without getting to the bottom of why they reported an AAF. 

Australian Rugby League star Michael Jennings and US weightlifter Jordan Adel both tested positive for Ibutamoren and LGD-4033 (Lingradol). Jennings was adamant that he would never deliberately take prohibited substances. We don’t know if Adel, who also tested positive for Ostarine, accepted guilt for his ADRV.

All three substances regularly turn up in supplements. Without a hearing being held in either case, we will never find out if the athletes took the substances deliberately; if contaminated supplements were to blame; or if there is another reason for their positive tests. 

As such, we can expect more athletes to test positive for the same substances. Such a system has saved the National Rugby League (NRL), the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and both athletes the time, stress, and cost of a hearing. But does such an approach help athletes?

Ostarine was also involved in a curious ADRV asserted by the International Testing Agency (ITA) against Russian weightlifter Kseniya Kozina. Based on data received from the Moscow Laboratory, reanalysis of a sample taken in 2014 resulted in a positive test for Ostarine. 

The case is curious because Ostarine doesn’t feature on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) 2014 Prohibited List. It was specifically named on the List only from 2015 onwards.

However, confusingly for athletes, just because it isn’t on the List doesn’t mean it isn’t banned. Despite not featuring on the List, Ostarine was arguably prohibited in 2014 under a ‘catch-all’ provision covering ‘other anabolic agents’. 

Nesta Carter made headlines this week, after being sanctioned with a four year ban for what was reported to be a ‘second doping offence’. The former Jamaican star sprinter was punished for an ADRV involving Clomiphene, which he said was due to medication prescribed to him in February. In 2017, reanalysis of a sample he gave at the Beijing 2008 Olympics resulted in an AAF for methylhexanamine, which also wasn’t named on the Prohibited List until 2010. 

It would therefore appear that Carter has been incredibly unlucky with his tests, but lucky with his sanctions. Halima Hachlaf can’t claim to have been so lucky. The Moroccan middle distance runner was sanctioned with a six year ban, despite providing the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) of World Athletics with evidence that she was prescribed medication containing methylprednisolone. Hachlaf was previously sanctioned with a four year ban expiring on 19 December 2017 for an ADRV involving anomalies in her athlete biological passport (ABP).

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

Halima Hachlaf, Carlos Petterson-Griffith, Nesta Carter (details);
Noah Webb;
Kseniya Kozina;
Jordan Adel;
Michael Jennings (here and here, plus details);
Recreational athlete.

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