News 5 November 2022

The SII Anti-Doping Monitor – week ending 4 November 2022

Sixteen athletes from ten countries, competing in eleven sports, were involved in anti-doping proceedings that came to light during the past week. The arrest of a Doctor in Greece illustrated the power that Police investigations have in dismantling the doping supply chain as opposed to the sporting jurisprudence system, which blames the athlete and doesn’t investigate their entourage if they accept a reduced ban.

Some of the substances discovered by Greek Police…

The sophisticated operation, which was run via a company and involved an internet site, came to light after basketball player Konstantinos ‘Dino’ Mitoglou filed a lawsuit against a Doctor. The Euroleague player was provisionally suspended after an adverse analytical finding (AAF – or ‘positive test’) on 4 March 2021. The Doctor had recommended treatments following a foot injury.

Police discovered that the Doctor had been administering doping treatments to athletes over the past two years. The number of athletes she had treated during this period wasn’t mentioned, but a Statement mentioned that her mobile phone has been confiscated.

The Doctor is accused of ‘administering doping preparations and other unapproved treatments to athletes’, and has additionally been charged with defrauding the country’s healthcare service (EPOYY), read the Statement. ‘The administration of the treatments was intended to repair injuries, enhance athletic performance and the immune system, combat exhaustion, lose weight, increase libido, and fight ageing. The ingredients of the treatments came from three (3) categories of preparations, namely:

• non-genuine pharmaceutical preparations (doping) with a fake EOF [national medicines organisation] authenticity tape;
• pharmaceutical preparations with prohibited substances from abroad without a license from the EOF; and
• pharmaceutical preparations, which he had obtained through fake prescriptions, causing financial damage to the expense of EOPYY.’

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

Under Article 10.8.1 of the World Anti-Doping Code, athletes can receive one year reduction to a four year ban if they accept the charges within 20 days, eliminating the need for sporting organisations to hold a hearing. This provision was utilised in three cases this week, including retroactively in the case of Danielle Rante.

The three athletes were given three year bans. As the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) Decision in Christine De Bruin’s case illustrates, no investigation into how she returned an AAF took place. Under the anti-doping sporting jurisprudence system, the activities of the Greek Doctor may never have been discovered.  

A challenge to the sporting jurisprudence system

The sporting jurisprudence system is to be challenged at the Swiss Federal Tribunal (SFT) by an Estonian wrestler. Last week, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) rejected Heiki Nabi’s appeal against a two year ban, ruling that although it appeared that he had inadvertently ingested a small amount of Letrozole, he had failed to demonstrate the source of his AAF.

Paul Keres, Nabi’s lawyer, told The Sports Integrity Initiative that the appeal to the SFT would be based around the idea that the CAS Decision violates Swiss Public Policy. “Swiss lawyers found that the decision, in which the CAS states that the athlete has done nothing wrong, is guilty of nothing and is a victim yet also upholds his two-year sentence, is contrary to Swiss public policy”, Keres told ERR. “The second reason (for the appeal) is that, when compared with other athletes, Heiki has been discriminated against because he has to foot the bill for the CAS proceedings. This is, from our standpoint, unfair and unjustified. 

“The arbitration fee is 40,000 Swiss francs [€40,460]. It is an absurdity that athletes at international level can only challenge doping decisions at the CAS. Those who are sanctioned by international organisations can challenge for free but those sanctioned by national anti-doping bodies have to pay.”

India’s Shelby Houlihan

Shashank J. Rai, a Basketball player who has represented India internationally, was sanctioned with a four year ban after India’s Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel (ADDP) refused to accept that pork meat was responsible for his AAF. Rai declared six supplements on his doping control form (DCF), and subsequent tests revealed that none of these contained 19-Norandosterone (19-NA).

Rai then claimed that the only other plausible explanation for the presence of 19-NA in his system was his regular consumption of pork. However the Panel disregarded this possibility.

‘The panel would like to clarify that the issue “whether consumption of pork leads to presence of NA-19”, is a secondary issue, firstly, the athlete should have established that he actually did consume pork on a regular basis, on the day of collection and a day prior, the supplied bills and evidences are not satisfactory in nature and don’t establish “consumption” even remotely’, reads the Decision. ‘The discussion on the technicalities of “pork” being a plausible “19-NA” source is immaterial when the Athlete has not even established a clear consumption habit or pattern’. 

The Panel also rejected Rai’s explanation because the concentration of 19-NA in his sample was greater than 15ng/mL. A first Study submitted by the athlete in support of this theory indicated that levels of 19-NA after consumption of boar meat were no higher than 2.9ng/mL. A second Study showed that when male non-castrated boars were consumed, 19-NA levels reached 7.9ng/mL. 

US athlete Shelby Houlihan blamed a pork burrito for her AAF, a theory that was rejected by the CAS as ‘possible but improbable’. The levels of 19-NA found in Houlihan’s A sample were 6.9ng/mL and 7.8ng/mL in her B sample.

NADA India also sanctioned athletics Coach Mickey Menezes with a four year ban for injecting a young athlete with ‘Propionate’, causing her to report an AAF for Drostanolone at the 2020 Khelo India Youth Games. Khirti Bhoite successfully appealed a four year ban in April, after India’s ADDP accepted that her AAF was not intentional. Her ban was reduced to two years.

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

Antoine Charrade (AFLD Statement, Statement on original Sanction);

Jean Dutriaux (AFLD Statement);

Mickey Menezes (NADA India Decision, AIU August 2021 List of Sanctions detailing Bhoite’s 4yr ban, NADA India Decision on Bhoite’s appeal);

Ms Pushpa (NADA India Decision);

Antima Kumari (NADA India Decision);

Shashank J. Rai (NADA India Decision);

Mahipal Singh (AIU October List of Ineligible Persons)

Toon Aerts (UCI Statement, Original Statement);

Greek Doctor (Police Statement);

Amir Nizam Melabi (Iran NADO Statement);

Nairo Quintana (CAS Statement; UCI’s original Statement; Background);

Andrey Sidorenko (RUSADA Statement, Statement on original DQ);

Maxim Mironov (RUSADA Statement);

Danielle Rante (USADA Statement);

Heiki Nabi (appeal to SFT confirmed by lawyer, news article);

Antonio Infantino (NADO Italia Statement);

Christine De Bruin (CCES Statement; Decision);

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