Italy’s National Anti-Doping Organization (NADO) has released documents outlining the reduction of the suspension of Alex Di Giorgio from the statutory maximum of 4 years to just 8 months. That suspension is due to expire on June 7th.
According to SwimSwam Italia’s Giusy Cisale, the committee that heard the case believed an explanation of accidental contamination.
Di Giorgio tested positive for the banned substance ostarina in September 2020, but the amount found in his blood was one nanogram per liter (.001 micrograms per liter).
The court accepted, based on the small amount found, di Giorgio’s defense of accidental ingestion. That allowed the panel to first reduce the suspension from 4 years to 2 years. There is no minimum threshold of ostarine for sanction, however, so that small reading in-and-of-itself doesn’t absolve him of penalty.
The court did, however, use that standard to reduce the suspension further to 8 months – which doesn’t usually happen without a proposed contamination source. In this case, no contamination source was proposed.
Di Giorgio’s test was conducted on September 13 in Livigno, Italy during a training camp. He has been given a temporary suspension by the Italian Anti-Doping Tribunal and faces up to a 4 year ban for a first offense.
The drug is intended to target the body’s androgen receptors to cause them to respond similarly to how they would to testosterone but without the side effects.
In 2017, in the US, a dietary supplement called Tri-Ton was tested by the USFDA and found to contain ostarine. In 2016, according to the Sports Integrity Initiative, there were only 28 AAFs across all sports for the substance, much lower than the more common stanozolol, for example, which had 294 findings.
While ostarine is not approved for human use or consumption anywhere in the world, it has increasingly turned up in supplements and has seen a growing number of positive tests. By 2018, the most recent report released by WADA, there were 45 positive tests. IN 2018, the Sports Integrity Initiative reported that at least 60 products on its “High Risk List” that contained ostarine.
The 30-year old swimmer was a member of the Italian 800 free relay that won gold at the 2013 Mediterranean Games. At the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, he swam a leg on Italy’s prelims 800 free relay, where he split 1:47.74 and the team placed 9th. At the 2012 London Olympic Games, he also swam on the prelims 800 free relay, splitting 1:47.93 as the relay finished 11th.
He most recently trained at the Federal Center of Verona under coach Matteo Giunta in a group that includes the country’s most famous swimmer Federica Pellegrini, along with Stefania Pirozzi, Carlotta Zofkova, and others.
Di Giorgio also must pay the cost of the proceedings, calculated at 378 Euros.