Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) today issued James Lockwood with a two-year ban after UKAD requested retrospective analysis of the player’s A sample for Growth Hormone Releasing Peptide-2 (pralmorelin) and its metabolite. Although the rugby league player’s sample came back clear, UKAD requested retrospective analysis due to its obligations under the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Technical Document for Sport Specific Analysis (TDSSA), which was introduced under the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code, which came into force on 1 January 2015. This revealed the presence of the substances, which are prohibited under section S2 of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) Prohibited List. ‘This is the first finding of its kind in the UK’, read a 21 April UKAD statement.
Lockwood, who plays for Rugby Football League (RFL) Championship club Featherstone Rovers, was initially tested on 19 November 2014. ‘The sample was submitted for analysis to the Drug Control Centre, King’s College London’, read the full UKAD decision. ‘No prohibited substances or prohibited methods were detected in this analysis and these initial results were reported by the Laboratory on 8 December 2014’.
However, on 27 January 2015, UKAD instructed the laboratory to conduct Growth Hormone Releasing Factors (GHRF) analysis on the A sample. On 26 February, the laboratory reported the adverse analytical finding for Growth Hormone Releasing Peptide-2 (pralmorelin, GHRP-2) and its metabolite. UKAD requested the extra testing as part of its obligations under the TDSSA, which sets a minimum level of analysis (MLA) for a set group of prohibited substances that are not analysed within the standard urine test analysis. These include Erythropoietin Stimulating Agents (ESAs, EPO and its analogues, including CERA); GH; and Growth Hormone Releasing Factors (GHRFs). The MLA is referenced as a percentage that applies to all anti-doping organisations (ADOs) testing national level and international athletes in the sports and disciplines identified in the TDSSA as being at risk for those particular substances.
“WADA has introduced a technical document for sport specific analysis (TDSSA) which sets out the minimum level of analysis that an Anti-Doping Organisation is required to conduct within a particular sport for Erythropoiesis Stimulating Agents (ESAs), human Growth Hormone (hGH), and Growth Hormone Releasing Factors (GHRFs)”, a UKAD spokesperson told the Sports Integrity Initiative. “Additional testing is routinely required, as not all substances on the Prohibited List can be screened for in one go (i.e. they are not all part of the standard routine urine analysis screen). GHRFs are substances that could be used in an attempt to enhance performance in rugby league and as a result, James Lockwood’s sample was one of a number of samples retrospectively tested for GHRFs.”
Lockwood did not contest the charge, which was issued to him on 3 March, and waived his right to have the B sample analysed. He was therefore issued with a ban from all competition from 3 March 2015, the date of his provisional suspension, to 2 March 2017.
GHRP-2 is a growth hormone releasing peptide, which means it works by stimulating the pituitary gland to produce more growth hormone. Users may report raised strength, endurance and increased muscle mass. It is also thought to aid injury rehabilitation and to reduce fat.
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