Two lengthy doping bans were handed out yesterday, and neither were light sentences.
The first was Czech swimmer Michal Rubacek, who according to the Washington Post received a two-year ban for the substance methylhexaneamine after a positive test at December’s National Championships.
Methylhexaneamine has become an all-too-common word for swimmers, with most recently Kuwaiti swimmer Abdul Rehaman Al Bader, Fabiola Molina, and Boris Loncaric all testing positive.
Rubacek is a two-time Olympian (making his debut in Athens at only 18-years old). He’s the Czech National record holder in the 50 and 100 butterflies, and reached the highest point of his career when he placed 22nd in the 100 fly at the 2009 World Championships
Highlighting what many swim fans see as a continued inconsistency with doping suspensions in the sport, Rubacek’s two-year ban is by far longer than the other bans for the same substance that we’ve seen. In 2010 and 2011, FINA reports 9 positive tests for the substance prior to this one, with punishment ranging from a “reprimand” to a 9-month ban.
The huge majority of those suspensions, however, were handed out by the national federations, which is how the rules were agreed to and signed in order to give each nation some flexibility in handling these cases. WADA is currently undergoing a major rewrite process to the doping rules, and narrowing these variances was surely one of the major topics on the table in those discussions. The ban initiates from December, when the positive test took place.
The second two-year suspension was given to India’s Surya Prasad Sharma for the substance Stanozolol, which is an Exogenous Anabolic Agent. Her positive test was from last October at an in-competition screen, and his suspension kicked in November 9th.
The athlete herself is of little consequence, as she seems to have no significant results. However as India tries to rise in the world sporting scene (including as the host of the Commonwealth Games in 2010), this is the third aquatic athlete they’ve had receive a positive test for this same substance in 2011.
Stanozolol is a common-choice for female athletes and body-builders because the weight gain associated with other anabolic steroids is not as big of an issue. The lean muscle-mass that the drug creates is prefered for endurance athletes like swimmers and runners.
This is another drug that we’re seeing making a comeback in lesser-developed sporting nations (we saw a similar case in Jordan, though with a different substance) where doping hasn’t matured to newer, harder-to-detect drugs. This is the same substance that was infamously used by Canadian Ben Johnson to win the 100 meter dash at the 1988 Summer Olympics.
Full FINA release below:
On October 21, 2011, a swimmer Surya Prasad Sharma (IND) was tested positive to the substance Stanozolol (Class S.1 A Exogenous Anabolic Agent) following an in-competition doping control test conducted in Trivadrum, India.
The National Anti-Doping Agency of India imposed a sanction of 2 years’ ineligibility on the athlete starting on Nopvember 9, 2011, the date of provisional suspension.