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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Australian sprinter competed when he should have been banned

Australian sprinter competed when he should have been banned

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Australian sprinter competed when he should have been banned

By Michael Gleeson
Sydney Morning Herald
March 28, 2014

Inexcusable delays by Australia’s anti-doping body and its laboratory in dealing with the case of an Australian sprinter has meant the athlete has continued to compete when he should have been banned.

Patrick Fakiye has been banned for two years for testing positive to a banned substance in 2012. The substance was in a supplement he had taken on the same day as fellow sprinter Matt Davies, who is also serving a two-year ban.

Fakiye’s ban date has been backdated to when he recorded his positive test but he will be free to return to competition on July 12.  

Delays at the testing laboratory and by the under-resourced Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, which was in the middle of dealing with the Essendon-Cronulla supplements scandals, caused Fakiye’s case to be left in limbo and meant his ban had to be backdated.

Fakiye, like Davies, had recorded a positive A sample, but the laboratory failed to provide ASADA with a report on the case including Fakiye’s B sample for more than a year. The athlete believed his B sample must have cleared him and continued to compete. His performances included a run of 10.45 seconds for the 100 metres at last year’s national titles.

The International Association of Athletics Federations, ASADA and Athletics Australia agreed the delays in the case were unacceptable, that Fakiye could have reasonably thought his case had been dismissed, and set the start date for his ban to July 12, 2012. He has been disqualified from the races he competed in from then until now.

The 23-year-old, who competed for Australia in the 100 metres and was a member of the relay team at the world junior championships in 2010, was the fifth-fastest Australian in 2012 and narrowly missed selection for the London Olympics.

His suspension brings to four the number of Australian sprinters who have been banned or are facing bans for breaches of the drug code.

Josh Ross, Australia’s six-time national champion and a member of the relay team at the London Olympics, and Anthony Alozie, who was on the sprint relay team at the world championships in Daegu, South Korea, in 2011, have both breached the drug code for whereabouts violations or missed drug tests.

Neither Ross nor Alozie failed drug tests or recorded positive samples.  Both had been drug tested during the period they had also missed tests or failed to correctly enter their whereabouts for drug testers.

Fakiye has not represented Australia on a senior international team but won the Australian junior title in 2009, made the final of the 100 metres at the world juniors in 2010, and represented Australia at the University Games in 2011. He has a personal best for the 100 of 10.4 seconds.

“Patrick’s ban is a two-year ban but the effective ban is less than that because of inexcusable delays in the case,” Athletics Australia president David Grace said.
He said that despite Fakiye and Davies taking the same supplement on the same day, the case did not suggest systemic doping in athletics.

“It’s just ignorance on the part of the athlete, it’s negligence in failing to check what they are taking,” Grace said.
“All athletes are aware of our drug policy and what steps they are supposed to take to check what is in a product and under no circumstances do we condone this behaviour.’’

An ASADA spokesman said the delay was partly caused by two new stimulants being  found in Fakiye’s sample.

‘‘As this was one of the first cases of these substances being detected, further scientific work needed to be conducted by the Australian Sports Drug Testing Laboratory to ensure valid test results and determine the exact nature of the substances,’’ the spokesman said.

‘‘The delays in this matter were taken into account in the application of Mr Fakiye’s case.’’

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