A Moldovan doctor has been given a life ban from sport after being found guilty of arranging for lookalikes to give drug testing samples under the names of real weightlifters heading for the world championships.
The International Testing Agency (ITA) said on Thursday that Dr. Dorin Balmus represented three Moldovan athletes in 2015 when they were asked to provide samples shortly before competing at the world championships in Houston.
The ITA said three lookalikes took on the identities of the weightlifters because they were “each undergoing a doping cycle at the time” and risked testing positive. All three were able to compete at the world championships but later received drug-related bans.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) welcomed the decision by the ITA to sanction the Doctor for a range of Anti-Doping Rule Violations related to tampering with the anti-doping process in the sport of weightlifting.
The International Testing Agency reports that it has issued the decision to sanction Moldovan doctor Dorin Balmus to a lifetime period of ineligibility due to Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs) for tampering and complicity.
— International Testing Agency (@IntTestAgency) September 16, 2021
In a television documentary, aired by German broadcaster ARD in January 2020, Dr. Balmus was recorded admitting that he had used surrogates, or “doppelgängers”, during sample collections of a number of Moldovan Weightlifting Federation athletes.
This substitution of urine samples was confirmed by further ITA enquiry, prompted by an investigation known as ‘Operation Arrow’ that had been initiated by WADA’s independent Intelligence and Investigations (I&I) Department in October 2019. ‘Operation Arrow’ is part of a wider WADA I&I investigation into weightlifting that began in August 2017.