Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
• WADA issued a Notice to Stakeholders regarding meldonium.
• The Notice provides clarification regarding its inclusion on the Prohibited List; existing excretion studies and those underway; and, the results management and adjudication process.
• It reinforces the principle of strict liability for athletes under the World Anti-Doping Code; and, the assessment of fault under the Code that is the duty of the robust Results Management and Adjudication process.
Yesterday, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) issued a Notice regarding meldonium to its stakeholders that are primarily signatories to the World Anti-Doping Code (Code). The Notice provides clarification regarding its inclusion on the Prohibited List; existing excretion studies and those that are underway; as well as guidance regarding the Results Management and Adjudication process.
“There is no doubt as to the status of meldonium as a prohibited substance,” said WADA President, Sir Craig Reedie. “There is equally no doubt that the principle of strict liability under the Code; as well as, the well established process for results management and adjudication prevail,” he continued.
“Since meldonium was prohibited on 1 January of this year, there have been 172 positive samples for the substance, for athletes across numerous countries and sports,” Reedie said. “Concurrently, there has been a call by stakeholders for further clarification and guidance,” he continued. “WADA recognizes this need — that meldonium is a particular substance, which has created an unprecedented situation and therefore warranted additional guidance for the anti-doping community.”
In keeping with the Code, an athlete remains wholly responsible for any prohibited substance found in their body. In the event that a prohibited substance is detected, the onus in on the athlete to explain how the substance got into their body.
There is currently limited data available on excretion studies relating to meldonium; and, as such, several studies are currently being conducted involving WADA accredited laboratories, which WADA will share when available. Until such time, the Notice provides guidance as to how organizations should manage meldonium cases within their respective jurisdictions, which may be to ‘pursue’ or ‘stay’ until further excretion research has been made available.
• This media release was originally published on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) internet site on 13 April 2016. To access the original, please click here.
• [Editor’s note]: for further analysis, click here.
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