When Frenchwoman Alizé Cornet was first brought on the carpet for three missed doping-control tests she insisted that at the original hearing, they didn’t want to listen to what she had to say.
Well, the Independant tribunal apparently listened.
Because at her May 1 hearing in London the tribunal found, by majority decision, that the doping-control officer did not do “what was reasonable in the circumstances (i.e. given the nature of the specified location) to try to locate the [player], short of giving [her] any advance notice of the test.”
That applied to the third missed test. And it takes three to trigger a suspension.
Provided, of course, that she doesn’t miss more tests.
Cornet was charged on Jan. 11 with failing the “whereabouts” criteria – i.e., she wasn’t available for an unannounced test during the 60-minute time slots she declared on her forms three separate times, during a 12-month period.
They offered her the option of taking a voluntary suspension. But she opted to keep playing, even with that hanging over her head, because she intended to contest it.
Missed Test No. 1
Corner testified she was asked to take an earlier flight, to get to the Fed Cup site earlier. But she didn’t properly update her “whereabouts” filing.
Missed Test No. 2
Cornet was supposed to be at her mother’s house. But again, she had left before the 60-minute window to catch a flight, worried about the traffic. Apparently they missed her by 15 minutes. Mom cried.
“Missed” Test No. 3
On Oct. 12, Cornet realized the buzzer to her apartment was broken. She went to Moscow for the tournament there, was home a few days, then left again – assuming it was fixed by her father, who is her de-facto handyman.
She found out when her dad showed up with tools on Oct. 26 that the intercom had not, in fact, been fixed. And then she found out she’d missed the doping-control officer two days prior.
She was sitting at home, eating breakfast with her flatmate. But the officer couldn’t get access to the apartment via the doorbell (and didn’t ask any of the three people she saw coming in and out during that time to let her in).
Cornet said that her fellow tenants were pretty slack about letting anyone into the building, and they probably would have, if the officer had asked. In fact, Cornet said, they’d done it for her before.
Cornet’s flatmate (who had seen the doping control officer before and knew who she was) actually left the building to go to work during that 60-minute window. So did Cornet’s next-door neighbour.
“Frank and compelling evidence”
The tribunal agreed that the officer failed to “take reasonable steps” in all circumstances, although they recognized she acted in good faith. They felt it was a borderline case, and the officer didn’t follow paragraph 12.1 that says it “may be appropriate for the (officer) to speak to people he/she encounters during the attempts to see if they can assist in locating the athlete.”
They weren’t too impressed with the officer’s claim that the people who walked out of the apartment complex during that 60-minute period “looked busy”.
And the officer confirmed that she had not heard the buzzer, when she pressed it.
Cornet can now immediately return to action.
The hearing was held in London on Tuesday, May 1, and Cornet was present for that.
She lost in the first round in Madrid the following week, and pulled out of this week’s tournament in Rome.
But it’s all clear now – and she has two “no-shows” to play with during this 12-month period.
She’s entered in Strasbourg next week. Then comes the French Open.
Madison Brengle, an American player currently ranked No. 83 in the WTA Tour rankings, filed a blockbuster lawsuit Monday in a Florida court.
In it, the 28-year-old names the International Tennis Federation, the WTA Tour, and the ITF anti-doping arm responsible for administrating drug tests. The suit also names Stuart Miller, Senior Executive director, Integrity & Development for the ITF since 2001.
It also names John Snowball, a doping control officer who also maintains an education manual “and thereby assists in training and supervising” those who collect anti-doping samples.
The suit was filed by lawyer Peter Ginsberg. Brengle also has a local lawyer in Florida, Charles Johnson III.
The suit aims “to hold Defendants responsible for their outrageous conduct in subjecting Brengle to anti-doping blood testing using needles, despite Defendants knowing and ignoring that she suffers from a rare medically-diagnosed physical condition which results in both temporary and permanent physical injury, emotional trauma, and pain and suffering from having a needle inserted into her vein, and thereafter extracting punishment and repeatedly harassing Brengle following her challenge to this conduct,” per the court filing.
In addition to damages “in excess of $10 million”, Brengle also is asking for an injunction permanently restraining the parties from “performing and threatening to perform a venipuncture blood test.
“Tennis authorities ignored evidence of her professionally-diagnosed condition and refused to provide alternative testing or a medical accommodation, instead subjecting Brengle to testing that caused her to withdraw from tournaments and has now resulted in permanent swelling and weakness in her serving arm and hand,” the statement read.
The statement also included comments from Brengle, per Reuters.
“I am bringing this action in an effort to force those who control the sport I love to understand that players are not commodities and should be treated with respect and dignity,” Brengle said. “The unbridled authority of officials to subject players to the kind of abuse I suffered cannot be tolerated; players must have a say in matters involving our health and safety.”
Tennis.Life has read the court filing, and summarized the major elements of it (summary being a relative term) below.
Short- and long-term effects
The condition Brengle says she suffers from is called “Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, Type I”. She says its induced by venipuncture (i.e. when blood is drawn), and the procedure causes “extreme pain as well as swelling, numbness and bruising” and “severe anxiety due to the anticipatory fear of the excruciating pain that the venipuncture blood draw will cause her.”
The ITF is the organization that administers anti-doping tests. The lawsuit brings in the WTA Tour as it says the WTA “forced” her to undergo the blood testing despite knowing about, and “witnessing the consequences of the effects of the procedure on her.”
The suit says the ITF promises players the tests will have no physical effect on their performance and that they are obligated to make reasonable modifications where necessary “to address a medical condition.”
In the suit, Brengle said she had repeatedly advised all parties she couldn’t tolerate the blood testing. And she says the reaction from those parties was to dismiss those concerns and, basically, that it was all in her head.
Brengle told the New York Times in an interview that the medical issue runs in her family. But she had never felt any ill-effects from it until she underwent intravenous sedation for the removal of her wisdom teeth, at age 17.
One specific instance alluded to in the court documents occurred at Wimbledon in 2009. Brengle underwent both urine and blood testing. But the phlebotomist’s first two tries at getting the vein on the inside of Brengle’s left elbow failed. On the third try, they got it. But the vein collapsed and Brengle lost consciousness. She suffered a panic attack and “painful bruising”. And after she returned home to Florida, Brengle developed a hematoma and for five days after the incident, couldn’t play tennis without “severe pain in her left arm.”
Australian Open, 2016
At the beginnig of 2016, the ITF began compiling “blood passports” for athletes, track records that they hope indicate patterns that can help identify dopers.
Brengle said she said she requested to have the blood drawn after her tournament was over rather than before, given her history. The suit says Miller was “dismissive” of her request and basically told her if she didn’t take the blood test, it would be an anti-doping violation.
The blood test was performed six days before the tournament – this time inside her right elbow. During that test, the suit alleges, the needle “hit a nerve bundle” in her arm, and had to be stopped. Brengle went to the tournament doctor, and due to the bruising and hematoma, couldn’t practice before the tournament. “Even two days before (her) first match, she could not maintain a grip on her racquet when making contact with the ball,” the suit states. She also was unable fully to straighten her arm, and the arm did not return to normal for two weeks.
Brengle came into Wimbledon that year in fine form. She reached the semifinals of a grass-court tuneup in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, and then qualified and reached the third round at Eastbourne.
But she lost in the first round, to Kurumi Nara of Japen.
The next day, Brengle went to pick up her prize money. There, she was informed she had to undergo a blood test. The suit states that this demand violated the rules of the program because it occurred after midnight following her elimination from the tournament, and thus was “a targeted out-of-competition drug test.”
Brengle says she told the administrator, Mr. Snowball, that she shouldn’t take the test because of the previous issues.
“In response, Snowball streamed at Brengle, publicly called her a liar for claiming she had a medical condition … and accused her of previously lying in this regard at the Australian Open.”
The doctor agreed to draw the blood from Brengle’s foot. And then, Brengle claims, it got nasty.
The American requested a form to complain about Snowball’s conduct. But she claims he “continued to bully and threaten her and told Brengle “that if she said anything about him, then he would say worse things about her.”
As it happens, the man she was complaining about, Snowball, is “responsible for collecting such forms on behalf of (the) ITF.
Brengle said she sent a letter to the ITF, along with photos of the effects on her foot. And she said the response from Stuart Miller was that “Brengle’s behaviour during the Wimbledon … test was unacceptable, and that the ITF was “considering taking action against Brengle for her conduct at both Wimbledon and the Australian Open” in connection with the tests.
US Open, 2016
Two months later at the US Open, Brengle was advised she would have to take another blood test related to the passport program prior to the tournament.
Given the previous incidents, her father Daniel contacted Stuart Miller to ask that the date of the test be moved up, so she could recover from the aftereffects in time to play in good health in New York.
Miller’s response, the suit claims, was that it “would cost thousands of dollars to do the blood testing earlier,” and asked if Brengle would pay for it. She agreed, but then, she claims the ITF not only refused to have the test done earlier, but informed her that it was now scheduled two days before the start of the US Open.
Only after all these incidents did Brengle get a medical diagnosis, for which a written report was prepared in November 2016. (You could ask the reasonable question about why she didn’t do this long before 2016, given the 2009 experience. The New York Times story says she was not subjected to a blood test in those intervening seven years).
Official medical diagnosis
In January, 2017, Brengle’s father Daniel submitted a request to Miller reiterating the need for accommodation in her case.
Two months later, the suit says, the ITF “acknowledged that Brengle suffered from CRPS Type I, but could not be exempted from the blood tests.”
In May, 2017, the ITF proposed Brengle take only the regular urine tests until the 2017 Open – subject to an independent medical assessment done by a medical professional chosen by the ITF and WADA, at her own expense.
That was done in July. And the suit claims the ITF-selected doctor agreed with the diagnosis. The one-year exemption was granted a month later. A few days after that, Brengle’s father received an email from Miller saying the exemption was “not an admission that her condition was caused by previous venipuncture.”
Happy Valentine’s Day
On Feb. 14, 2018, a doping control officer from the US Anti-Doping Association (USADA) arrived at Brengle’s Bradenton early in the morning for an unannounced doping test.
Brengle said that the officer arrived after the hour she had stated in her whereabouts filings, and that she was leaving for a doctor’s appointment. But the officer, per the filing, told Brengle that since she had opened the door, she had to submit to the test and if she didn’t, it would be a doping violation.
The officer then drove with her to the doctor (an hour away), “accompanied her to the treatment room, witnessed the entire exmination and listened in on Brengle’s confidential conversations with her doctor.”
They then drove back to Brengle’s home where she did the urine test.
Two days in a row
The next day, another officer, this time from the ITF, came to her house early in the morning and told her she had to do both urine and blood tests.
Brengle said she wouldn’t take the blood test and the officer warned her that if she didn’t, it would be an anti-doping violation.
She provided the officer with a copy of the latter outlining the exemption and didn’t take the test. But the suit claims Brengle experienced “significant anxiety and mental suffering.”
That’s the short version.
Experienced sports litigator
Lawyer Ginsberg is a New York-based attorney hired by Brengle last November. Per his website, the New Yorker has a practice that “has spanned professional football, representing chiefly players and coaches in League matters and litigation, NCAA matters, and professional golf, baseball and hockey internal and litigation disputes.”
”She can give blood. She just can’t tolerate the needle in her vein. She could give blood via a pin prick in her finger. She will submit to a urinalysis,” Ginsberg told the Associated Press. ”She’s not trying to avoid being tested. She’s trying to avoid having a needle being stuck in her veins.”
Williams answered firmly, passionately about her belief in competing clean – especially now that she’s a mother, but also before that.
Williams said that she needed the TUE to be able to take a decongestant because without it, there was no way she would be able to play the French Open final.
She was indeed, very sick at the time – constantly hacking. The TUE was for prednisolone; the leaked document dated June 8, 2015 for a six-day exemption between June 5 and June 10.
June 8, 2015 – it should be noted – was a Monday. It’s more than likely, given the way these organizations operate, that they wouldn’t have officially issued the document over the weekend. But they may well have issued a verbal or official consent for Williams to take the medication.
At any rate, Williams used the inopportune opportunity to give a clear, strong statement about how she feels about competing clean.
But Serena can't really say that she's "always been very happy to answer any question about that."
The only other time Serena was asked about those T.U.E.s, soon after their release in the fall of 2016, she responded by walking out of a French TV interview. pic.twitter.com/p6YMLAkQ8X
MELBOURNE, Australia – French player Alizé Cornet says she was dope-tested some 20 times during the 2017 season.
Unfortunately, on three occasions when the doping control folks went to her home for an unannounced test, she wasn’t there.
Three strikes on the “whereabouts” rule, and you’re out. And so after the third one, in October, Cornet may be out for a while pending a hearing in March.
The ITF rushed out a press release after Cornet announced the news on her social media Wednesday.
But it provided little additional information. The ITF confirmed Cornet had failed to be available three times during the 12-month period. And it confirmed it charged her with the violation on Jan. 11, shortly before the Australian Open began.
“In accordance with the TADP rules, no further comment will be made pending determination of the case, except as may be necessary to respond to public comment by Ms. Cornet or her representatives.”
In her note, Cornet said that she missed all three test for “valuable (sic) reasons that the ITF didn’t want to hear.”
(Cornet translated “valable” to “valuable”; in fact, she meant “valid”).
In response to that, the ITF’s press release denied that Cornet’s stated reasons for missing the three testing opportunities went unheard. They wrote that the process, including “the right for the player to request an independent assessment of whether the requirements for such failures were met, was followed in all three instances.”
(They may have misinterpreted Cornet’s statement, or taken her literally. The original expression in French is more likely to mean that while the ITF technically “heard” the reasons, they didn’t accept them as valid. Her French statement also adds “for the moment” to the ITF’s stance).
The immediate consequence of this is that Cornet cannot represent France at the upcoming Fed Cup tie against Belgium at home (the Fed Cup is under the ITF umbrella). She can, however, continue to play WTA Tour events until the matter is heard.
She’s not the only no-show; Kristina Mladenovic and Caroline Garcia also won’t play.
Not the first time for Cornet
You’d think, based on her history, that Cornet would never get to the point where she’d have three strikes on the whereabouts charts.
“I choose the 6 a.m. morning slot every day, even during tournament periods. That way, I’m sure I’ll be in my bed,” she said. “I refresh the software every day and I try to be very rigorous about this … And yet, I already have two “no shows” hanging over me this year.”
Tennis precedent in Belgium
A failure on the “whereabouts” rule is rare. But it does happen.
The most notorious instances both involved Belgians.
The case dragged on for a long time. And it got complicated. First, a Belgian court suspended the bans so they could resume competing. Then, WADA was set to appeal the suspension – wanting two years, rather than one.
As a result, he was given a five-month suspension, which was only revealed Thursday through an official statement from the player.
It’s a five-month ban, beginning Sept. 1, 2017 and expiring Jan. 31, 2018.
Bellucci claims the positive test comes from a contaminated supplement.
Hydrochlorothiazide is a diuretic often used as a masking agent, which is why it’s on the banned list.
No appeal, lawyer says
His lawyer, Pedro Fida, said the two parties agreed on Dec. 31 (the day after Bellucci’s 31st birthday) that the Brazilian wouldn’t appeal the suspension.
Fida said that the ITF was preparing a statement to be issued Friday (they like to drop on Fridays, to clear their desks off for the weekend). But he jumped ahead of the story, much like Maria Sharapova did for her positive test back in 2016., and Brit Dan Evans after his positive test for cocaine last summer.
Bellucci found out about the positive test after he had travelled to Shenzhen, China in mid-September.
“After a long review of the facts by the ITF, the entity opted for a soft sentence of five months, the minimum possible in a case like this, which could be up to four years, having taken into account the diligence and the reputation of Thomaz, as well as all medical and scientific evidence presented, together with the unintentional consumption of the substance and the lack of performance improvement,” Fida wrote in a statement.
“The ITF warned Thomaz with this (minimum) sanction because he understood that he should have checked the origin of the multivitamin, verified whether the dispensing pharmacy complied with regulatory standards and whether it was reliable.”
“Mr. Bellucci’s account of how the hydrochlorothiazide got into his system was accepted and that he bears No Significant Fault or Negligence for the violation. The Programme provides for the start date of the period of ineligibility of five months to be backdated due to the prompt admission and for delays not attributable to Mr. Bellucci,” the ITF statement reads.
“Therefore, the start of the ban is back-dated by two and a half months … and by a further six weeks… As a result, the ban is deemed to have started on 1 September 2017, and so will expire at midnight on 31 January 2018.”
In the Esporto Mais piece, Bellucci says he would never take a diuretic, pointing out that he has trouble keeping weight on, not the reverse.
(The Brazilian is one of the heaviest sweaters on Tour; there is some evidence that hydrochlorothiazid can cause excessive sweating).
But, of course, that’s not the reason athletes in the past have misused hydrochlorothiazide; they’ve used it to cover up the use of more serious banned substances, like steroids.
Bespoke supplement to combat sweating
According to the ITF’s report on the case, a Brazilian biochemist custom-designed the supplement, one of three Bellucci took to try to combat the excessive sweating issue.
(It’s more than a wringing-wet shirt issue; the loss of vitamins and minerals through perspiration is a crusher in terms of stamina for long matches).
“I proved that it was not my fault. I never took any kind of supplement or any other substance that would favor me or that would violate the fair play rules of the sport. You could never imagine that a multivitamin made by a drug store could suffer cross-contamination in minimal doses. I have always been careful and respected the rules of the sport,” Bellucci said in the statement, per Esportes Mais
“It was precisely at a time when I was recovering from injuries and making a major transition in my career, from moving to Florida, setting up a training base there to reach my maximum potential on the circuit in the next few years.”
Per the ITF’s report, Bellucci personally brought the remaining supplement capsules from one of the prescriptions, along with another supplement he bought on Amazon, to a lab in Los Angeles for testing.
(Kids, don’t buy your supplements on Amazon if you’re subject to dope testing.)
He also submitted hair samples in order to produce a negative test for steroids.
Interestingly, Bellucci had not disclosed any of the supplements on the standard form players fill out. Players are supposed to lost every single thing they ingest on those forms.
Bellucci told the ITF he mistakenly thought that “his daily consumption of vitamin pills” did not need to be on the form. (Kids, have you learned NOTHING from the Sharapova case?)
Nonetheless, the ITF believed that he’d taken the supplements that week in Bastad.
Interestingly, the biochemist in question had been involved in a similar case in 2016 involving another athlete (the details are redacted in the ITF’s report) who tested positive for the same reason.
In a letter received by the ITF dated Oct. 11, Bellucci waived “any right to challenge any part of the sample collection procedure or laboratory analysis in relation to sample number 3089061, instead accepted that the laboratory had accurately detected HCTZ and its metabolite in his sample, and therefore accepted that he had committed an anti-doping rule violation.”
But … Bellucci did not accept a “voluntary provisional suspension” when he first received the news, in order to leave the options open in terms of appealing it.
In the wake of other so-called “silent bans” where the player flat-out had to lie about an injury to explain their lengthy absences, the ITF changed its procedure.
It now announces such voluntary provisional suspensions (or mandatory suspensions) before the case itself is resolved.
That change was made for cases arising after Sept. 1, 2016.
At the time, the ITF gave this rationale:
“The reputation of the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme and, consequently, of tennis, have been damaged by accusations that players have been allowed to serve bans without those bans being made public (so-called ‘silent bans’). This rule change will prevent any further similar accusations.”
Given that many players would opt to retain the right to fight a doping suspension in court, and therefore not accept a “voluntary provisional suspension”, the Bellucci case reveals that the announced change remains more cosmetic than practical.
Then again, there are so few positive tests announced that it only occasionally comes into play.
When Bellucci announced on his website that he was pulling out of Shenzhen, Beijing and Shanghai, he cited his ongoing Achilles tendon injury. But he had travelled to Asia and was practicing there. And he didn’t play the rest of the season.
The Brazilian’s ranking has dropped considerably in the last couple of years. He could well have finished out the season on the South American clay-court Challenger swing, near home. That’s his favorite surface. And that would have given him a shot at raising his ranking to ensure he could make the Australian Open main draw by direct entry.
Small concentration, big consequences
The concentration of hydrochlorothiazide found, 30 ng/ml, is quite small.
As a comparison, it’s almost exactly the same concentration found in the fourth test administered to American Varvara Lepchenko that was found to contain meldonium, the same substance that cost Sharapova 15 months of her career.
Lepchenko did serve a sort of “silent ban” through the first few months of 2016. She wouldn’t discuss it when the news leaked out, either. (The ITF only announced the positive test in Sept. 2016).
The American tested positive for meldonium in a concentration of 12,630 ng/ml the first time, on Jan. 7. By the fourth time she was tested, the sample found was so small (29 ng/ml) that the ITF accepted Lepchenko’s claim that she had stopped taking it before it officially became a banned substance on Jan. 1, 2016.
Bellucci’s doubles partner not affected
Bellucci forfeits a total of €8,575 in prize money from Basted, along with 90 doubles ranking points. His doubles partner, countryman Andre Sa, did not have his points and prize-money forfeited, because the ITF considered that Sa would be able to show that “he was not implicated in Mr Bellucci’s ADRV and that their results in the doubles competition were not likely to have been affected by the ADRV.”
Bellucci will return for the South American clay-court swing, beginning with the Quito Open in Ecuador in early February.
They apply only to mandatory provisional suspensions, and those that are accepted voluntarily.
Per the ITF, Barbu chose not to exercise his right to appeal the provisional suspension. As little prize money as he has earned in 2017 (about $3,500 US), hiring a lawyer seems impractical.
The suspension went into effect Oct. 22, pending a full hearing which likely would determine the length of the official suspension.
Challenger level led to dope testing
Barbu’s positive sample came on Aug. 16, 2017, at the Challenger in Meerbusch, Germany.
At that tournament, he was given a solid by his much higher-ranked countryman Florin Mergea, as they got direct entry into the draw.
They lost in the first round.
Mergea is ranked in the top 50 on the ATP Tour in doubles, and was in the top 10 just two years ago.
He also partnered his countryman for a series of four Futures events in Romania over the summer. They won two and reached another final, which allowed Barbu to raise his ranking from outside the top 800.
Barbu would have to forfeit about $1,200 in earnings and, more importantly, 28 precious ATP Tour ranking points. That would drop him out of the top 600, assuming it’s an issue on the back end of the potential suspension.
The announcement continues the ITF’s trend of catching only guppies in the professional tennis pond. But it does offer a window into where the players are being tested.
Barbu played 10 Futures events between May and early August. And nothing positive came up, assuming there was even any drug testing going on. But in his first tournament at the Challenger level, the Romanian got dinged.
He had basically been retired for more than a decade. Between July, 2006 and this past May, Barbu had played just one Futures event – all the way back in 2011.
As it happens, Roddick officially retired four days before Marino did, on Feb. 16, 2013. In his case, a three-month period on the anti-doping program was required, and there wasn’t enough time.
Eventually, Roddick did apply for reinstatement, which became effective July 16, 2015.
Why Marino didn’t know about this or didn’t make sure she completed whatever paperwork was required is a question mark. Tennis Canada would not make her available to answer a few questions, not even on site.
The Vancouver native only began training again with an eye towards coming back to the game at the beginning of September. Even had she looked into all the details on the very first day she stepped on the court for real, she still would have been more than four months short.
Tennis.Life had contacted both the ITF and the WTA Tour this morning just to ensure that Marino had, indeed, completed the reinstatement process (sometimes you have an intuition …).
But with the WTA Tour having basically shifted operations to Singapore for the Tour finals, no immediate response was forthcoming. As for the ITF, well, it was … Friday afternoon. If either provides additional information, we’ll update the story.
The International Tennis Federation has released the list of prohibited substances for 2018.
The changes go into effect as of Jan. 1, 2018
Says the ITF:
“All players are responsible for acquainting themselves, and ensuring that each Person from whom they take advice (including medical personnel) is acquainted, with all of the requirements of the Programme, including knowing what constitutes an Anti-Doping Rule Violation under the Programme and what substances and methods are prohibited, and ensuring that anything they ingest or use, as well as any medical treatment they receive, does not give rise to an Anti-Doping Rule Violation.”
“After careful consideration and extensive consultation, Alcohol was excluded from the Prohibited List. The intent of this change is not to compromise the integrity or safety of any sport where alcohol use is a concern, but rather to endorse a different means of enforcing bans on alcohol use in these sports. The four International Federations (IF) affected by this change have been alerted sufficiently in advance in order to amend their rules and to put in place protocols to test for alcohol use and appropriately sanction athletes who do not abide by the rules of their sport,” the ITF writes.
“Control of the process will allow IF more flexibility in applying rules or thresholds as they see fit. The National Anti-Doping Organizations are no longer obliged to conduct tests but may assist IF and National Federations where appropriate.”
Monitored List changes
Two substances that had been on the list of monitored substances (as meldonium was in 2016) have been removed “because the required information on prevalence was obtained.
According to this site, its main purpose is “increasing the physical and mental performance in people exposed to stressful conditions, and accelerating the recovery process after physical exertion. That makes it useful for athletes, especially for bodybuilders and runners. What is important is that Bemitil can be taken by healthy individuals.”
It’s available at the “Dr. Doping” site, among many other sites, which probably doesn’t help its case.
For now, that doesn’t mean either of these substances are banned. They are just being monitored.
Removal of Glycerol
In consideration of the information published in scientific articles since 2012 that particularly addresses the ability of glycerol to influence the athlete‘s plasma volume and parameters of the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP), the magnitude of glycerol-derived effects is regarded as minimal. Therefore, glycerol has been removed from the Prohibited List.
Changes on the cannabis side
The category Cannabimimetics, e.g. “Spice, JWH-018, JWH-073, HU210” was changed to “synthetic cannabinoids, e.g. Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other cannabimimetics”. The synthetic cannabinoids are one of the main classes of novel psychoactive substances that have constantly emerging new drugs and changing availability. The previous list of examples continues to be prohibited, but are currently used less commonly. “Other cannabimimetics” replaced these examples.
• Cannabidiol is no longer prohibited. Synthetic cannabidiol is not a cannabimimetic; however, cannabidiol extracted from cannabis plants may also contain varying concentrations of THC, which remains a prohibited substance.
The International Tennis Federation has finally ruled on the length of the suspension for British player Dan Evans.
Evans, 27, will serve a one-year suspension, backdated to April 24, 2017.
A urine sample the British player provided on that date at the Barcelona Open was found to contain cocaine and its metabolite.
Normally, we probably wouldn’t have even heard of this before today, when all of the protocols and the process have been completed. (See the case of Dimitar Kutrovsky below, which took two years to navigate the system)
But Evans got out front of the case, much like Maria Sharapova did when she announced in March, 2016 that she had tested positive for meldonium at the Australian Open that year.
Evans was charged with the anti-doping rule violation on June 16. He read out a statement at a nearby hotel during the Queen’s Club tournament on June 22, a few weeks before Wimbledon, in which he admitted he had failed a doping test.
According to the decision, Evans admitted he ingested a small amount of cocaine on April 20, while out of competition. Evans then put the leftover first in his pocket, and then in a pocket of his laundry bag. He got rid of it the next day.
Except … In that same laundry bag pocket, he stored some medication that he was legally allowed to take. He took those pills for five days. And on the fifth day, he tested positive for cocaine and its metabolite.
His expert testified, and the ITF’s expert agreed, that the small amount he tested positive for had to have been taken “no more than 24 hours” before his test, “an amount inconsistent with knowing ingestion and consistent instead with inadvertent contamination.”
In other words, Evans didn’t come up with a positive test because he took cocaine April 20. He tested positive because his legal medication had been stored with the leftover cocaine, and thus contaminated. So, in disposing of the remainder of the cocaine and then taking his pills on that April 24 test day, he ended up with a positive test.
The anti-doping rules state that a positive test “shall not be considered intentional “if the Substance is not a Specified Substance and the Player can establish that it was Used Out‐of-Competition in a context unrelated to sport performance.”
Evans could not establish that he bore “no Fault or Negligence”, because the evidence was that he was, well, sloppy. But they did allow that he “bore no Significant Fault or Negligence”, which allowed for a discretionary reduction of the two-year initial period by up to 12 months.
The ITF determined that for several reasons, a 12-month reduction was “within the range of reasonable outcomes”. Those reasons included “the time and expenses saved by reaching an agreed outcome rather than having a disputed hearing,” and Evans’s “prompt admission” of his transgression.
He can return on April 24, 2018.
Evans forfeits more than $120,000 in prize money and 95 ranking points earned in Barcelona and afterwards,
Kutrovsky gets two years
In another decision, the ITF imposed a two-year suspension on Bulgarian player Dimitar Kutrovsky.
It’s a case that ran more to form in terms of procedure, as Kutrovsky’s positive test occurred almost exactly two years ago, at the Tiburon Challenger on Sept. 28, 2015.
Kutrovsky’s sample contained D-methamphetamine, which was on the WADA list as a stimulant.
He was charged November 4, and provisionally spended from Nov. 14, 2015. It was his second violation; Kutrovsky had already served a 15-month ban after testing positive for methylhexaneamine back in 2012.
Since Kutrovsky’s suspension is backdated, he has served nearly all of it. Now 30, he will be eligible to return at midnight on Nov. 13, 2017.
At this point, it seems fairly moot. Kutrovsky, who was a standout collegiate player at the University of Texas and also represented Bulgaria in Davis Cup, announced his retirement in Jan. 2016 – less than two months after he was suspended. Long established in Austin, Texas, he is in his second season as an assistant coach with the University of Texas at San Antonio’s men’s program.
“No Significant Fault or Negligence”
It’s interesting in light of the emphasis put by Maria Sharapova and her representatives relative to her own suspension that in both these cases, the ITF wrote in the decision that the player bore “No Significant Fault or Negligence for the violation.” It puts the exact significance of that terminology into context.
In Kutrovsky’s case, he said the positive test came from smoking shisha (a fruit-flavored tobacco) through water pipes (also known as hookah pipes) at two bars in Sofia, Bulgaria on the night of Sept. 20.
He provided evidence to support his contention that the pipes were contaminated with D‐methamphetamine.
Had it been his first offence, Kutrovsky would have gotten a year’s suspension. Because it was his second, that was increased to two years. He also forfeited about $4,500 in prize money and 37 singles ranking points (and five doubles ranking points).