We reported last month that the 23-year-old had reportedly tested positive for the banned substance Clostebol in an out-of-competition test. The substance is considered a weak anabolic androgenic steroid on its own, but was used as one ingredient of oral turinabol, a staple of the East German state-sponsored doping program back in the 1970s and 1980s.
Santos, originally named to Brazil’s 2019 FINA World Championships squad, traveled with the team to Gwangju, where his doping panel hearing took place. The exact details and findings of the panel have yet to be released, and only the suspension has been announced.
According to Globo Esporte, Santos claimed he came into contact with the substance accidentally, by wearing his brother’s towel or garment days before the May 20 test. Santos had reportedly spent a few days at home, and his brother used an aftershave ointment that contained the substance that was detected.
The doping panel allegedly accepted this defense and reduced Santos’ sentence because of it, only punishing him for “negligence.” Brazilian National Team coach Alberto Pinto da Silva, CBDA doctor Rodrigo Brochetto Ferreira and lawyer Stefano Malviesto were present at the hearing along with Santos.
Originally, Santos’ primary defense has been that the substance was present in a topical ointment used on a new tattoo, or that it absorbed after contact with his girlfriend, who also used the substance on a tattoo. Clobestasol is, in fact, a common ingredient in topical medication used to treat inflammation and itching caused by a number of skin conditions, including tattoos.
Santos’ suspension will end January 19, 2020, with plenty of time to return for Tokyo 2020, but as for now, he must leave the Athletes’ Village where he was staying with the Brazilian delegation for Worlds, and immediately return to Brazil. During the suspension, he cannot train with Pinheiros or under coach Pinto da Silva. At the beginning of December, 45 days before the end of his suspension, Santos can resume training with the team and coach. His recent results from the Mare Nostrum in Barcelona, the French Open, and Sette Colli Trophy in Italy are voided.
Santos had also recently been signed to the ISL’s DC Trident, but the league has a zero-tolerance doping policy, and he was quickly suspended.