Dutch Backstroking Ace Kira Toussaint Tests Positive For Tulobuterol

Top elite backstroker Kira Toussaint of Netherlands abruptly pulled out of the just-concluded Short Course World Championships citing illness. When her withdrawal was announced on December 7th, the Royal Dutch Federation (KNZB) stated, “The backstroke specialist is ill and will therefore not start.”

However, per the 24-year-old’s Instagram account post today, December 20th, more was definitely in play.

“Today, I like to share my story with you, because I am innocent and I am convinced that the truth will prevail,” reads Toussaint’s statement.

“On the 7th of December 2018, just before the start of the World Swimming Championships in Hangzhou (China) I was notified by FINA that I tested positive for the substance: Tulobuterol.

“The urine sample was collected during a doping test on the 2nd of November 2018 during the World Cup Swimming in Beijing.  Tulobuterol is a substance that has a prolonged bronchodilator effect. The medicine can be administered using an inhaler or using a patch applied to the skin, or like clenbuterol, for example via contaminated food.

“I am an asthma patient and to treat my asthmatic condition I use another medication. The medication I use is allowed and has the same effect as Tulobuterol. Reportedly Tulobuterol is not available in Europe. It is predominantly available in seven countries in Asia, including China.

“It is completely unknown to me how this substance has entered my body. I strongly believe in a clean sport and I support anti-doping measures for 100%. Never in my life have I been in contact with doping or have I used doping. I have always been very outspoken against the use of doping. I can honestly say that I never took this substance knowingly.

“Because the notification of the positive test coincided with the start of the WC, it was decided that I would not start. That same night (December 7th, 2018), I was on a plane back to the Netherlands. I was devastated. It was so unreal, I cried and cried during my flight home. It felt so unjust. I lived up to this tournament for the last couple of months. I was in the form of my life, yet I was going home. Through the media, the Royal Dutch Swimming Federation has communicated that I was going home ‘sick’.

“I also find it terrible that I could not honestly tell why I could not participate in the WC. The past few weeks have been a nightmare for me. Especially while the WC were still taking place. It was fortunate that I am surrounded by family and friends that have supported me tremendously.

“I also did experience great support from the Royal Dutch Swimming Federation, they even sent me flowers.

“At present we are working hard to investigate how the substance could have entered my body. Because I know that I did not take any illegal substance, I have full confidence that in the end everything will be all right.”

Jan Kossen, KNZB General Director responded to the news, ” It is terrible what happened to Kira: the message, the necessary withdrawal of the World Cup and the great uncertainty in which she finds herself. We know Kira as a hard-working, honest athlete. We wish her a lot of strength in the coming time. ”

View this post on Instagram

I’m devastated and living in a nightmare. I’m innocent and I believe that the truth will reveal that! For my English statement read my comment: Vlak voor de start van het WK korte baan in Hangzhou kreeg ik op 7 december te horen dat ik positief ben getest op het middel: Tulobuterol. Het betrof een test van 2 november 2018 tijdens de World Cup in China. Tulobuterol is een stof die langdurig de luchtwegen verwijdt. Het medicijn kan via een inhalator of pleister het lichaam in komen, of zoals clenbuterol, via bijvoorbeeld vervuilde voeding. Zelf heb ik astma en gebruik daarvoor andere medicatie. Deze medicatie is toegestaan en heeft dezelfde werking als tulobuterol. Tulobuterol is naar verluidt niet verkrijgbaar in Europa. Het is in zeven voornamelijk Aziatische landen, waaronder China, wel verkrijgbaar. Het is voor mij volledig onbekend hoe deze stof in mijn lichaam terecht is gekomen. Zelf sta ik 100% voor een schone sport. Nog nooit in mijn leven ben ik in aanraking geweest met doping, of heb ik doping gebruikt. Ik ben altijd heel erg fel geweest in discussies over doping. Ik kan met mijn hand op mijn hart zeggen dat ik dit middel niet bewust heb genomen. Doordat de bekendmaking van de positieve test vrijwel samenviel met de start van het WK, is besloten dat ik niet zou starten. Diezelfde avond zat ik in het vliegtuig terug naar huis. Het was zo onwerkelijk, ik heb de halve vlucht gehuild. Het voelde zó onrechtvaardig. Ik leefde al maanden naar dit toernooi toe, ik was supergoed in vorm en topfit, maar ik ging naar huis. Via de media heeft de KNZB gecommuniceerd dat ik 'ziek' naar huis was. Vandaag wil ik mijn verhaal delen met jullie, omdat ik onschuldig ben en heilig geloof dat de waarheid altijd het langste duurt. Ook vind ik het verschrikkelijk dat ik niet eerlijk kon vertellen waarom ik niet kon deelnemen aan het WK. De afgelopen weken waren een nachtmerrie voor mij, vooral toen het WK nog bezig was. De mensen om mij heen hebben mij enorm gesteund. Ook heb ik veel steun ervaren vanuit de KNZB. We zijn momenteel aan het onderzoeken hoe het middel in mijn lichaam terecht is gekomen. Omdat ik weet dat ik nooit iets heb gebruikt, vertrouw ik op goede afloop.

A post shared by Kira Toussaint (@kiratoussaint) on

With Toussaint’s positive test having come on November 2nd, that means she competed at the remainder of the Beijing stop, the Tokyo stop and the Singapore stop of the World Cup Series, earning money at each post-positive. Depending on the outcome of her case, she may wind up relinquishing earnings, but that’s yet to be determined. Overall, Toussaint finished the entire series as the 8th highest female earner with $42,150.

Of note, as with FINA, the International Swim League (ISL) has zero tolerance for doping.

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SUM Ting Wong

Just when she was doing so well .Fancy that!


There is, without doubt, an issue with dodgy medicinal and food products in China…not gonna claim she’s innocent until we know the facts though

Curious Swimma

Too bad she isn’t American. Then the comment field would be filled with everyone talking about how she definitely is clean and there has been a mistake made


No mate. Every nationality of fan tends to back there own more loudly.

sane swim parent

Given that she is a known asthma patient and this is an asthma medication, I’m inclined to cut her some slack.

25 free champ

The problem is there are so many “asthma patients” in elite swimming. Any doctor will diagnose you with asthma if you know how to answer the questions.


I’ve always found this a little sketchy. We had an All-American D1 sprinter in the 50 free and 100 free on my college team. Before every practice and every meet he would take a few big puffs of his inhaler and proceed to wreck everyone. You’ve gotta wonder if that inhaler wasn’t just a crutch but a prop to help him go a little faster.


It could just be that your teammate was extremely fast. Asthma medication would have less effect in the 50.


Well generally speaking if you’re an asthma patient that’s what you have to do. I think it’s bold the inhaler was the only reason he went onto crush it. Especially because he ya know, needs it to breath


it only helps if you have asthma and your lungs are full of plegh, otherwise it does not help, you have puff like Froome, ridicilous times if you are healthy….


I’m pretty sure that the comments were mixed after Madisyn Cox’s positive test. I mean… the water in Austin, seriously? There have been other moments that have prompted similar responses from this US audience 🙂

Curious Swimma

I made a point due to the whole Cox situation. Everyone on here are very quick to judge, unless it is an American.


I think that it was mixed for Cox until it was proven by a WADA approved lab that a vitamin she had been taking since high school was contaminated in both her opened bottle and a sealed bottle from the same lot number and then there was for the most part universal support. I also believe this case could very well be a contamination issue. Why in the world would she take an illegal asthma medicine when she already had a TUE for a medicine that does the exact same thing? I think some people will always relish the chance to condemn people regardless of the facts. Which is a shame.


I mean she basically is…


I think American fans are the most brutal to their own. Everyone hated Jessica Hardy.


Have to disagree. Brits booed a sprinter who’d served a doping ban at our Olympic Trials (similar to the way they booed Gatlin), and took him to court to try to keep him off the team. Kiwis, in my experience when I spent time there, are brutally unforgiving of cheats too. Only two nations in which I have lived but both give the impression of being far less forgiving than Americans.

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After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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