Tag Archives: Brett Clothier

Russia’s doping suspension will be lifted week

Russian athletics chiefs are hopeful that their global ban for doping will be lifted, sources in the country have told the Daily Mail.

World Athletics are due to discuss the prospect of removing the Russian federation’s suspension, which has stood since 2015, at a meeting of the ruling body’s council in Rome.

The Russian Athletics Federation has worked hard to get its house in order since a systemic doping regime was revealed amongst its athletes.

And, though Russian athletes will remain banned from representing the country as a result of the war on Ukraine, their ruling body could be welcomed back into the fold.

World Athletics, whose president is Seb Coe, imposed the eight-year ban after a damning investigation by the World Anti-Doping Agency revealed the scale of Russian drug-taking.

The huge, state-sponsored regime sabotaged London 2012 and, according to the investigative report, included ‘cover ups, destruction of samples [and] payment of money to conceal doping tests’.

The Russian federation was hit with further sanctions in 2020, including a $10million fine, after the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) found senior individuals had conspired to break anti-doping rules.

In a separate WADA case, its investigators found that data from a Moscow anti-doping laboratory had been tampered with. It meant the Russian anti-doping agency remained suspended, a sanction which will be reviewed next month.

Only 10 Russian athletes, meanwhile, were allowed to compete as ‘Authorised Neutral Athletes’ at last year’s Tokyo Olympics.

However, the Russian federation is now confident that the corrupt individuals have been weeded out and its system is compliant with anti-doping regulations.

Rune Andersen, the independent chairman of the Russian taskforce, was due to deliver a report to the World Athletics council updating them on this progress.

The council began its two-day meeting in the Italian capital on Tuesday. They were also due to discuss the spate of doping sanctions levelled against Kenyan athletes, amid reports that their national federation could be at risk of a suspension.

However, the Kenyan government last week pledged $5million to fight doping after Brett Clothier, the head of the AIU, said increasing resources was ‘where this fight goes next’.

Coe is entering the final year of his second term as World Athletics president and will need to decide shortly whether to run for office again. He has been linked with the presidency of the International Olympic Committee, with Thomas Bach’s second term coming to an end in 2025.

Sharon Lokedi ‘was NOT tested before her shock victory’

Running officials failed to test New York City Marathon winner Sharon Lokedi for doping prior to the event Sunday.

Lokedi won the women’s professional race on her marathon debut in 2 hours, 23 minutes and 23 seconds.

However, it has now been revealed that the Kenyan was not tested for doping before the race.

On Tuesday, Brett Clothier, head of the Athletics Integrity Unit, the independent organization that oversees drug testing for international track and field, confirmed that the 28-year-old had not been tested as part of the organization’s special testing program it runs for the world’s top marathons, according to the New York Times.

There is nothing to suggest that Lokedi violated anti-doping rules and she has not tested positive for an illegal substance.

The organization had reduced the pool of athletes in the Registered Testing Program for the world’s top six marathons throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, Clothier said in a statement.

This year it tested only the top 80 athletes – 40 men and 40 women – competing according to their World Athletics rankings.

Lokedi was just outside the group, ranked 47th, and therefore was not tested as part of the program.

A spokeswoman for the AIU revealed Lokedi had not been tested by the organization since June 2021 and was not forced to undergo to further testing prior to the race in New York.

However, the marathon’s organizers, the New York Road Runners, had submitted her name to the AIU in June as part of the professional athlete field and Lokedi had continued to appear on any subsequent list. It was then down to the AIU to carry out any testing.

This year she finished fourth in the New York City Half Marathon, completing the 13.1-mile race in 1:08:14 and in June finished second in the New York Mini 10K, posting a time of 30:52.

The New York Road Runners confirmed Lokedi had been subject to testing immediately after winning the race.

However, it has long been claimed that in-competition testing is not as an effective tool as athletes can flush out illicit substances from the systems prior to races as they know they will be tested for certain.

Whereas the Registered Testing Program is more rigorous with athletes having to provide a location where they will be for one hour every day for random out-of-competition testing.

Clothier said the testing pool would be expanded to 150 men and 150 women in 2023.

Foreign athletes also do not have to tell the United States Anti-Doping Agency their daily whereabouts for random testing, despite training and competing in the country.

Instead, the country they compete for is responsible for monitoring anti-doping amid their athletes, which would be Kenya for Lokedi.

Kenya has historically had a poor record of testing its athletes and the AIU said last month that 10 Kenyans have tested positive for triamcinolone, an banned anti-inflammatory medication, since the start of 2021, with only two cases in track and field from the entire rest of the world during the same period.

Those athletes included Diana Kipyokei, who was disqualified after winning the 2021 Boston Marathon for a positive test.

The 28-year-old is pictured with her coach and agent, Stephen Haas (right), after the race

Lokedi’s coach and agent, Stephen Haas, had said Sunday that she had trained in Kenya prior to running in the New York Marathon and it is unclear if she underwent testing while there, according to the New York Times.

The USADA has tested Lokedi twice this year but in comparison Keira D’Amato, who broke the American women’s record in the marathon in January, has been tested 11 times and American Emily Sisson 10 times.

CJ Ujah cleared of taking banned drugs

CJ Ujah, whose failed doping test cost Team GB Olympic relay sprint team silver, has been cleared of deliberately taking banned drugs.

As a result of the new ruling, the Athletics Integrity Unit and the World Anti-Doping Agency will allow him to return to competition next year.

Ujah, who initially faced a potential four-year ban from the sport, had consistently insisted he did not knowingly take ostarine and S-23, adding it “is something I will regret for the rest of my life”.

However, the British men’s sprint relay quartet’s career-defining performances in the 4x100m Tokyo final last year remains deleted from the history books.

Ujah had run the opening leg but then tested positive for two prohibited substances, ostarine and S-23.

The AIU has now confirmed, however, that Ujah is now serving a reduced term of 22 months, which means he can return to racing next June.

“The AIU and Wada were satisfied that the sprinter’s anti-doping rule violation (ADRV) was not intentional as a result of his ingestion of a contaminated supplement and the applicable two-year period of ineligibility was reduced by two months on account of how promptly he admitted the violation,” a statement from the AIU says.

Brett Clothier, head of the AIU, added: “In this case, after a thorough examination of the facts, we were satisfied that Mr Ujah did indeed ingest a contaminated supplement, but he was unable to demonstrate that he was entitled to any reduction in the applicable period of ineligibility based on his level of fault. “Taking supplements is risky for athletes as they can be contaminated or even adulterated with prohibited substances. Athletes owe it to their fellow competitors to be 100 per cent certain before putting anything into their body.

If there’s the slightest doubt, leave it out.” It remains to be seen how his relay team-mates Richard Kilty, Zharnel Hughes and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake will take the news, having been all been stripped of medals over the furore.

Kilty has previously said he felt “let down” by his team-mate, adding how the team “heard nothing from” Ujah for six or seven weeks and they “didn’t have a clue” when the positive test was first disclosed after the Games. “Then we had a Zoom call maybe six weeks ago, and he just said to us that he thinks it was in a supplement,” Kilty added. “The supplements he was taking were not Informed Sport, which is not following the rules. As a team-mate I feel let down. For the last 20 years of my career – the same as the other two lads – we have worked our asses off. We have followed the rules, in and out.”

The British relay team automatically forfeited their medals in February, after Ujah did not challenge his adverse analytical finding at a Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing.

Ujah previously said: “I would like to make it clear that I unknowingly consumed a contaminated supplement and this was the reason why an anti-doping rule violation occurred at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

 

Source: telegraph.co.uk

Blessing Okagbare handed 11 years for doping

Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare has been handed an extra one-year ban for additional doping violations to add to her existing 10-year suspension.

The Athletics Integrity Unit charged her with “evading sample collection, and tampering or attempted tampering with the doping control process”.

In February, the 33-year-old was handed her original ban for “multiple breaches of anti-doping rules”.

She was suspended during the 2021 Tokyo Olympics after failing a drug test.

As a result of Okagbare’s additional ban, Nigeria has lost its potential qualification place in the women’s 4x100m relay at July’s World Championships in Oregon.

Six days after she evaded sample collection – on 13 June 2021 – she competed in the relay event at Nigeria’s Olympic trials, helping her team to qualify for the World Championships. However, all results involving Okagbare have now been disqualified.

“Over the years, we have repeatedly seen how one person’s actions adversely affect team-mates who have trained hard and worked honestly for their results,” AIU head Brett Clothier said in a statement.

“In this instance, Nigeria has lost an important qualification spot. Those are the rules and we will not compromise on integrity.”

Okagbare, the 2008 Olympic long jump silver medallist, was a medal contender for the women’s 100m in Tokyo last year and won her heat in 11.05 seconds.

But she was ruled out of the semi-finals after the AIU said she had tested positive for a human growth hormone following an out-of-competition test on 19 July.

How athletics became addicted to supplements

At times during her two-year doping ban, South African 100 metres record holder Carina Horn’s depression plunged to such depths that she considered taking her own life. “I thought about getting in the car, drinking whatever and driving at 200kph,” she admitted.

Horn’s crime was to be lured into a glitzy, celebrity-endorsed, multi-billion pound sports supplement industry that promises so much, but has the capacity to ruin careers.

Forced to fly directly to South Africa from a competition in Switzerland due to visa issues, Horn had been without her usual arsenal of trusted supplements – legal dietary products that aid physical performance – which had remained at her training base in Austria.

Attempting to walk the precarious tightrope of maximising her physical potential while not straying into the realms of illegality, she bought some replacement supplements over the counter in South Africa. When two of those – including the startlingly-named Mutant Madness – turned out to be contaminated with illegal substances, Horn fell foul of doping regulations and had her world rocked overnight.

It was a familiar feeling for the GB men’s 4x100m team last week when they were formally stripped of their Olympic silver medal following CJ Ujah’s failed drugs test. While three of them – Richard Kilty, Zharnel Hughes and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake – suffered the harshest punishment through no fault of their own, Ujah has been left fighting for his reputation and career.

Having not challenged the result of his positive test for two banned muscle-building substances, Ostarine and S-23, he instead sought to explain the offence while awaiting sanction.

Like Horn, Ujah said he “unknowingly consumed a contaminated supplement”. According to Kilty, Ujah told team-mates the supplement had not been batch-tested and therefore was not certified for use by Informed Sport, a standard that British Athletics insists athletes adhere to.

Although precise details will not emerge until Ujah’s case concludes and the authorities determine whether his contamination argument is valid, the overriding question is why Ujah felt the need to risk his livelihood by taking such supplements.

A 2001 study funded by the International Olympic Committee into 634 supplements from 13 different Western countries found 14.8 per cent contained prohibited substances not listed on the label. Yet despite athletes being solely responsible for everything in their body, regardless of how it got there, and all leading anti-doping organisations warning against supplement use, it is almost unheard of for an international-level athlete not to take a supplement of some form.

“We understand that supplement use is very common,” said UK Anti-Doping head of education Paul Moss. “It’s a multi-billion dollar industry with some really aggressive marketing campaigns around it. It’s there and it’s not going to stop.

“It’s really difficult when you have a supplement with the face of a global superstar sportsperson endorsing it and saying it has changed their life.”

Aware that telling athletes not to take supplements is a futile battle, authorities instead urge them to use organisations like Informed Sport to ensure substances are batch-tested and certified. For British athletes, it is a message regularly promoted, including in a 45-minute mandatory workshop before last summer’s Tokyo Olympics.

“I can’t just go into a Holland & Barrett and pick up any protein shake off the shelf,” said Kilty. “You’ve got to follow the rules and that means checking all of your supplements. Preferably not taking supplements if you can, but we all do take supplements, but they are all on Informed Sport.”

One sprinter who competed at the Tokyo Games told Telegraph Sport that supplements are seen as “100 per cent legal performance enhancers” in a sport where medals are decided by miniscule margins.

Olympic and world 4x400m relay medalist Martyn Rooney explained: “You’re pushing your body to the limit so you need to support it as much as you can. You supplement with whatever you need to take on.

“It’s just trying to maximise your body without delving into banned substances. From an athlete’s point of view it’s a normal part of life and as long as you’re using Informed Sport it should be fine.”

The problem comes from a discrepancy in standards worldwide. While the 2001 study found an almost 15 per cent supplement contamination rate in Western countries, the risk in more developing countries might be far higher.

Brett Clothier, head of the Athletics Integrity Unit, said: “The reality is that in the majority of places around the world, athletes can’t get access to those reputable supplements so it becomes really risky. It’s really difficult to guarantee anything. That’s why our advice, as a general rule to all athletes, is not to take supplements.”

With a reduction in length of the mandatory four-year doping ban available if athletes can prove a failed test is due to inadvertent ingestion such as supplement contamination, Moss admits that does “at times mean defences are built on spurious attempts to show this when a deliberate doping offence has been made”.

However, of 90 worldwide athletics doping cases that have concluded since the start of 2020, only six have involved supplement contamination, of which three were successfully argued and resulted in shorter bans. Horn’s was one of them.

Analysis of the alarming 10 supplements (including nutritional aids, vitamins, painkillers and sleeping tablets) she was taking at the time of her failed test in 2019 found two were contaminated with the banned substances Ibutamoren and Ligandrol.

Horn also proved she had contacted the chief executive of the supplement company prior to purchase, who wrongly confirmed the products were safe for elite athletes.

“I’d done all my homework, spoken to my coach, and spoken to the CEO so I thought it was all good,” she said. “But it doesn’t matter how much research you do.”

Having concluded Horn had “by the very narrowest of margins” demonstrated the failed test was unintentional, the AIU banned her for two years.

While Ujah’s fate remains unknown, Horn is now free to return to competition after her suspension expired in September. Burned by her experience, she is ready to test the anti-doping agencies’ theories that you can win without additional aid.

“I now don’t feel comfortable taking any supplements,” she said. “I don’t think it’s worth the risk.

“This upcoming season, I’m not going to take anything at all – just Red Bull, Powerade and water. So I will 100 per cent see how much supplements actually help you.”

Source: telegraph.co.uk

DOPING: AIU has concluded over 250 cases from all over the world

The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has said that it has so far concluded 250 doping cases since it was established in 2017.

Through its social media account of twitter, the AIU has stated that “Since the AIU was established in 2017, we have concluded over 250 cases from all over the world, 60of which related to Olympic or World Championship medallists. We are dedicated to creating a level-playing field for clean athletes.”

AIU was founded by the International Association of Athletics Federations in April 2017 to combat doping in the sport of athletics. The unit functions fully independently from the IAAF. It is currently led by head Brett Clothier.

The organization collected more than 600 blood samples prior to the 2017 World Championships in Athletics

 

Athletes from 16 countries competing in Olympics after CHEATING

Athletes have been competing in Tokyo after cheating by manipulating times and photo-finish pictures, as well as shortening courses.

Competitors worldwide broke the rules to make the qualifying standard for Tokyo, World Athletics investigators have found.

Cheats from up to 16 countries were identified before the Games, leading to eight bans from the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU).

But some of those suspected of wrongdoing are thought to have made it to Tokyo, having cheated via methods that also included the use of unauthorized field equipment and the illegal use of pacemakers.

The wide network of cheating is expected to have taken in officials from national federations wanting to get their athletes to the Games.

Competing in the Olympics can lead to considerable financial reward, especially for athletes from less wealthy nations. There are also political benefits in having as large a presence as possible at the Games.

‘In preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, our team identified, analyzed and investigated potential instances of competition manipulation,’ David Howman, the AIU chair, said in a statement.

‘Thanks to our investigations, World Athletics refused to recognize several questionable qualifying performances. The AIU will continue to investigate these matters to determine if any fraudulent conduct was involved.’

The AIU identified cases of suspicious qualifying performances from 31 athletes across 16 countries in the lead-up to the Games.

Other cases have led to further investigation to determine if cheating took place.

The AIU has had considerable success in bringing sanctions against athletes since it was set up in 2016 under the stewardship of its head Brett Clothier, an Australian former lawyer with a background in sports integrity.

It brought forward the one doping case at Tokyo 2020 when the sprinter Blessing Okagbare, a Nigerian world silver medalist, was suspended after testing positive for human growth hormone.

Asbel Kiprop should expect just judgment, says AIU Boss

Three times world 1500m champion, Asbel Kiprop’s doping case is expected to conclude with a fair judgment as his case has been referred to the DT. The head of the Athletics Integrity Unit spoke exclusively to Athletics News on various issues touching on doping in the country and globally.

Brett Clothier the head of Athletics Integrity Unit said that although there was no evidence of institutionalized doping in the country, it was still case for serious concern. He also mentioned on Kiprop that although the case is still under review by judges handling the case, AIU was determined to give him a fair hearing and conclusive judgment.

This comes in the wake of Kiprop insisting that the process to take samples from him was marred by irregularities starting with the anti-doping agents calling him prior to testing him which goes against their own internal regulations.

Secondly accusations of extortion from one of the officials have further tainted the whole process since it attacks the integrity of AIU as it goes about its global policing effort of curbing doping amongst athletes.

In May the AIU rejected claims his sample was tampered with and that testers had asked him for money.

‘I could trust them’ – what happened?

Kiprop was tested on 27 November 2017 in Iten, Kenya, having been told the previous night that doping control officers would be visiting.

Although that is against protocol, Kiprop said he did not take it as “something serious” because it had happened before.

The AIU said Kiprop’s sample was not tampered with but said it is “extremely disappointing” he was given advance notice of the test.

In response to Brett, Asbel said, “If at all I earn justice. I’m going to make the best out of my career. I have always not taken things so serious neither bring myself together to realize my full potential. But here I have learned that everything we do we gotta take every step as it counts because in every profession anything can happen anytime. If I earn justice. I will bring all my act together in order to realize my full potential. It will take me over another season to train and get a stable foundation but I believe I will be there. All I pray is to earn justice”.

Kiprop’s failed test dealt another damaging blow to Kenya’s reputation as a middle and long-distance running superpower. Dozens of Kenyans have tested positive for an array of doping substances in recent years. They’ve included big names, among them Olympic marathon champion Jemima Sumgong, Rita Jeptoo, Matthew Kisorio,Agatha Jeruto and Lucy Kabuu.

Sumgong and Jeptoo tested positive for EPO and were banned for four years. Kisorio and Jeruto tested positive for traces of steroids and were banned for two and four years, respectively.

 

WADA to Set Up Lab in Nairobi

The first World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) accredited laboratory in East Africa will be set up in Nairobi, Kenya.

This is after The LANCET Group of Labs Received an approval from the Anti Doping watchdog from Biological Passport (ABP) blood analysis.

Nairobi will be the first city to host the lab as part of the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) doping control programme in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania and Eritrea.

Until now blood samples from East African athletes is flown to South Africa, Asia or Europe for testing at an approved lab within 36 hours, a tight time frame that led to the regular bending of anti-doping rules.

The lab which is scheduled to begin operations in September is expected to analyse between 800 and 1000 blood samples a year.

The laboratory in Nairobi will perform blood analyses to support the AIU’s ABP program as well as other anti-doping programs operating in the area such as that of the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK).

The approval WADA is a culmination of a nine-month project initiated and funded by the AIU, with support from the International Athletics Foundation (IAF).

“From now on, the analyses of blood samples will be performed locally,” This is very timely especially in the context of next year’s IAAF World Championships in Doha,” Brett Clothier, Head of the AIU, stated.

.Clothier said this will give them more efficiency, responsiveness and less predictability in their testing programme in the region and a foothold in neighboring countries where it was extremely difficult to collect blood samples in the past.

Athletics Kenya (AK) on Monday welcomed the establishment of the lab in Nairobi for East Africa declaring it a big step in their anti-doping fight.

“This is the greatest news we have received this year, and we in Athletics Kenya are very excited about it because it will help us to effectively fight this doping effectively,” said president Jackson Tuwei at a news conference.

“WADA’s approval is a great recognition of the professional standards and skills of our facility in Nairobi,” Ahmed Kalebi of the LANCET Group of Labs East Africa said.

According to a communique from the AIU, the project engaged the services of the Centre of Research and Expertise in Anti-Doping Sciences (REDs) at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland to select a candidate laboratory in the region and then provide training and technical advice to achieve WADA’s approval.

AIU: Cover-ups will not stop war on Doping

Athletics’ fight against doping was discredited by the former leaders of the international athletics’ federation, IAAF, because of corruption and cover-ups.

IAAF has restructured its efforts and is trying innovative ways to tackle doping. The European Championships in Berlin are said to benefit from this new approach.

A modern elite sport is a rather unromantic affair. Thus only the second part of the French writer’s Antoine de Saint-Exupéry famous aphorism applies. Nothing has to do with the heart, “what is essential is invisible to the eye.” The general public’s feel for all the events at the European Athletics Championships comes only from what they see on the big stage. Yet another crucial act follows for all the winners: in the stadium’s underbelly they have to report for doping test procedures.

Here the true winners can be crowned, before then they are simply champions in waiting. Athletes are selected for doping. They are personally guided by a chaperone, without detours, under supervision at all times, to the doping control room. Nine separate cabins have been set up in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, in which athletes have to give their blood and urine. On the tables lie sample bottles and measurement devices.

Because the hunters have trouble to keep up with the cheaters, they do not count solely on the success of in-competition testing. They offer little chance to surprise the cheats. Only the most unsophisticated dopers will walk into the trap. “We do also testings in the hotels mainly pre-competition and also again in a targeted way”, Pedro Branco, head of the medical commission of the European Athletics Association told ARD, “we expect to test at least one third of the participating athletes. So that mean up to 600 tests, for sure.”

Last year IAAF president Sebastian Coe completely overhauled his federation’s fight against doping. Lamine Diack’s era, his predecessor, had turned out to be anything but a glorious chapter because of the scandalous lenient behaviour towards cheaters. Positive tests were covered up, officials were corrupted and dopers were protected.

source: ecs.sportschau.de