19-year old Uzbekistani swimmer Bibigul Menlibaeva, who represented her country at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games, has tested positive for a banned substance and received a 2-year period of ineligibility from a FINA Doping Panel.
While competing at the 10th AASF Asian Age Group Championships in Nebgaluru, India, Menlibaeva provided a urine sample on September 25, 2019. An analysis of her “A” sample returned an adverse analytics finding for the substance 5-methylhexan-2-amine, which is prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Code as a stimulant.
Menlibaeva claimed that the positive test was the result of taking a supplement named C4 at those championships without consulting a doctor or trainer, but according to FINA, provided no evidence that the supplement she took contained the banned substance, as a labeled ingredient or not.
Under FINA rules, if FINA or the Member Federation cannot establish that the rule violation was intentional, putting the burden on FINA or the Member Federation to establish that fact rather than the athlete to establish that it was uninentional, the maximum period of suspension is reduced from 4 years to 2 years.
The FINA Doping Panel concluded that while they believed she did not ingest the substance intentionally, because she provided no evidence of how the banned substance entered her body, they were unable to reduce her punishment any further.
The suspension was backdated to the date of the failed test, September 25, 2019. She did not compete in any events after that date and accepted a voluntary suspension in May of 2020, so FINA backdated the 2-year suspension to the date of the test. This means that her suspension runs through September 24, 2021.
Menlibaeva expressed remorse for the test in her responses to the FINA panel.
Menlibaeva placed 34th in the 50 breaststroke (35.00) and 44th in the 100 breaststroke (1:16.75) at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games. At the Asian Age Group Championships on the day of her positive test, Menlibaeva finished 6th in the 50 breaststroke in 34.11.