JASF Names Substance, Provides Details On Matsumoto Warning

We reported on the news that World Championships silver medalist in Gwangju, Katsuo Matsumoto of Japan, received a warning from FINA involving a positive result for a banned substance.

You can read our original report here, which relays how the 23-year-old freestyle ace tested positive for a then-unnamed substance, albeit with barely detectable traces noted. After providing FINA with information concerning what he ate while training in Mexico at the time the positive result was rendered, swimming’s overarching governing body issued a warning.

Now, the Japanese Swimming Association (JASF) has followed up with additional details concerning Matsumoto’s case. Below is the timeline provided by the JASF. You can read their fulls statement here.

May 28, 2020

  • FINA notified Matsumoto he had tested positive for banned substance clenbuterol as a result of an out-of-competition test conducted on February 26th. At the time Matsumoto was partaking in a high-altitude training camp in Mexico.
  • FINA indicated that the amount was so minute, that the entity asked for a food journal from Matsumoto to reveal what he ate while in Mexico.

June 26, 2020

  • Matsumoto provided the requested details to FINA.
July 6, 2020
  • JASF received acknowledgment from FINA of the food details and, as a result, the DCR Board determined that the substance had been unintentionally ingested in food while in Mexico.
  • As such, the JASF determined that there was no anti-doping rule violation.

The JASF reminds its constituents of previous warnings regarding the possibility of clenbuterol contamination in meat from China and Mexico.

For instance, in 2011, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) released a statement clarifying that “there is no threshold under which this substance is not prohibited”. However, they also admitted “it is possible that under certain circumstances the presence of a low level of clenbuterol in an athlete sample can be the result of food contamination”.


Updated in 2019, the American Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) says, “the use of clenbuterol as a growth-promoting substance in animal husbandry (beef, pork, lamb or poultry) in Mexico, China, and Guatemala has led to numerous positive anti-doping tests over the past decade.

With many of these cases resulting in no-fault violations because athletes unknowingly consumed meat contaminated with clenbuterol in or from these high-risk countries, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has established new rules effective June 1, 2019 to ensure that clenbuterol meat contamination cases are resolved in a way that’s most fair to the athlete.

“Effective June 1, 2019, a new amendment was introduced by WADA stating that low levels of clenbuterol (urine concentrations < 5 ng/mL) present in an athlete’s sample can be reported by a WADA-accredited laboratory as an atypical finding and investigated as a potential meat contamination case.

This will ensure that valid meat contamination cases are dealt with fairly and may prevent athletes from receiving an Anti-Doping Rule Violation and/or sanction and having their competition results disqualified as a result of eating contaminated meat. In such instances, and with proper documentation and supporting evidence, the circumstances will be reviewed to determine if a non-doping explanation exists for the athlete’s positive test.”


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About Retta Race

Retta Race

Swim analyst, businesswoman.

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