FINA has provisionally suspended Serbian National Water Polo team member Nikola Radjen after a positive test for cocaine.
Last week, news leaked that Radjen had tested positive on February 17th, 2015 during a match between the National teams of Spain and Serbian in Madrid.
On Tuesday, the Serbian Water Polo Federation released a statement saying that it “regrets” the case, and saying that they wrote a letter back to FINA relating that Radjen did not take the substance for performance enhancement, and that every time he’s been tested during the “highest competition,” those tests have come back negative.
The Serbian Water Polo Federation also says that Radjen wants to use his case as a platform to send a message to athletes at the “global and local levels in order to highlight the negative effects of the use of these and similar street drugs.”
While the Serbian statement did not amount to a full confession as much as it did a plea for leniency, it gave no indication that Radjen was denying using cocaine either.
The most recent suspension enacted for a positive test for cocaine was two years handed out to a Colombian diver earlier this year by her country’s anti-doping organization. A Belgian water polo player received the same suspension for an earlier 2014 test.
The difference is that both of those positive tests happened in 2014, before the new WADA World Anti-Doping Code went into effect that extended suspensions for first cases to four years from the prior two in cases where athletes could not prove that the violation was not intentional.
The 30-year old Radjen was a member of Serbia’s Olympic teams that won bronze medals in both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, and has also been a part of 5 FINA World League winning teams, a World Championship winning team, and the defending European Championship winning team.w