Friday, July 19, 2024

Letsile Tebogo’s World Under 20 100m Record Stands as Asinga gets Banned

Botswana’s Letsile Tebogo’s will continue to hold onto his World Under 20 100m record which was nearly taken by Suriname’s rising track star Issamade Asinga.

This follows the decision to strip Asinga of his titles as South America’s double sprint champion and World Under-20 100-metre record-holder after being found guilty of an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV). The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has now handed the athlete a four year ban.

In his defence, the Surinamese sprinter had contended his positive drug test was due to eating “recovery gummies.” AIU has however ruled the 19-year-old to have breached the World Athletics Anti-Doping Rules (ADR 2.1) relating to the “Presence of a Prohibited Substance or its Metabolites or Markers in an Athlete’s Sample”.

Asinga was provisionally suspended by the AIU last August after testing positive for metabolites of GW1516 in an out-of-competition test on 18 July. Asinga, a US resident, argued the positive test resulted from a contaminated product, Gatorade Recovery Gummies for Athletes, which he was given at a ceremony in the USA on 10 July 2023 after winning the Gatorade National Boys Track and Field Player-of-the Year.

However, the Disciplinary Tribunal said Asinga “did not succeed in establishing, by a balance of probability, that the Gatorade Recovery Gummies were the source of the GW1516 metabolites detected in his Sample of 18 July 2023”.

Consequently, Asinga will have all competitive results since 18 July 2023 disqualified, while also surrendering all titles and prizes. This includes his double-sprint victories at last year’s South American Outdoor Championships in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

On 28 July 2023, he ran a record-breaking 9.89 seconds in the 100-metres final. Except for his ADRV, this performance would have eclipsed the 9.91 seconds ran by Tebogo at the World Under-20 Championships in Cali in 2022. Asinga would have also broken the 35-yearold South American 100-metres mark of 10 seconds set by Robson da Silva.

“This decision upholds an important principle in cases where contamination is argued. The requirement for the athlete to show how the Prohibited Substance got into their system must be enforced strictly. This proof must not be based on speculation, but on specific, persuasive and objective evidence. All explanations based on contamination must be thoroughly scrutinised and not just blindly accepted. This strict requirement is essential to protect clean athletes and ensure a level playing field,” stressed AIU Chair David Howman.

In support of his argument that the positive test resulted from a contaminated product, Asinga claimed he took the Gatorade Recovery Gummies the week before the positive test and that subsequent testing of two unsealed containers of Gatorade Recovery Gummies, provided by the athlete, revealed the presence of GW1516 and GW1516 sulfoxide.

However, the Disciplinary Tribunal found that Asinga did not satisfy his burden of proof to establish that the Gatorade Recovery Gummies were the source of the GW1516 metabolites detected in his Sample.

In making its decision, among other matters, the Disciplinary Tribunal took into account the fact that the Gatorade Recovery Gummies provided in unsealed containers by the athlete for testing contained significantly more GW1516 on the outside than on the inside, which practically excludes any contamination by raw ingredients during the manufacturing process; that the Gatorade Recovery Gummies were batch-tested by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) and were credited with the NSF Certified for Sport certificate; and that a sealed jar of Gatorade Recovery Gummies, from the exact same batch taken by Asinga, tested negative by the Lausanne anti-doping laboratory.

The Disciplinary Tribunal’s decision may be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

(additional reporting by AIU)


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