24 April 2019
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WADA welcomes significant decision by Court of Arbitration for Sport

A newly developed method for detecting the use of prohibited substances in athletes has led to a significant and unprecedented 29 March 2019 decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in favour of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

CAS issued a final award confirming Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs) in the cases of the Ukrainian track and field athletes, Olesia Povh and Olha Zemliak. Both athletes were convicted of using a prohibited substance based on the detection of non-physiological levels of testosterone in their blood serum samples following analysis in the WADA-accredited laboratories in Lausanne, Switzerland, and Seibersdorf, Austria.

The testing was initiated by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). This led to the subsequent investigation, which resulted in these important convictions. The measurement of testosterone levels in blood serum constitutes a further tool for Anti-Doping Organizations (ADOs) to detect and prosecute doping, even where urine samples might be reported as negative.

WADA Director General Olivier Niggli said: “WADA welcomes this decision by CAS, which could have a long-term positive impact on clean sport. I would also like to commend the AIU for their excellent work which led to this outcome. The decision sets an important precedent and this new method of detecting doping represents another way for ADOs to secure Anti-Doping Rule Violations against those who choose to cheat. It is a significant victory for clean sport and for athletes around the world.”

Significantly, CAS ruled that there could be no doubt on the evidence that the method used in measuring testosterone in blood serum was scientifically valid, paving the way for further examples of this method being used in the future.

Olesia Povh was sanctioned with a four-year period of ineligibility for intentional doping while Olha Zemliak received an eight-year period of ineligibility as it was her second violation.