Monday, 11 October 2010

Oludamola tested positive for banned substance

Nigeria's Oludamola Osayomi, who got the gold medal in the women's 100 metres at the Commonwealth Games here on October 7, has tested positive for a banned stimulant.

The Nigerian sprinter, who initially finished second in the 100 but was awarded the gold when Australia's Sally Pearson was disqualified for a false start, tested positive for the banned stimulant Methylexanemine, Commonwealth Games Federation President Mike Fennell said Monday.

"Any positive test, whether it is in a high-profile event or not, is something that is very much regretted for a clean games, clean sport and a clean competition," Fennell said, adding that no decision had been made on the medals. "One doesn't know what kind of damage will occur as the result of this test but we just want to let everyone know that we are very vigilant and the testing and laboratory analysis is of the highest standards."

Fennell said Oludamola has been notified of the adverse finding and has requested the testing of her "B" sample.

"This is something we just have to work with and make sure that we do our part in monitoring and eliminating doping in sport," Fennell said.

Elias Gora, the Nigerian team's chef de mission, said he had not yet been informed of the positive test.

"But if the allegations are true it's most unfortunate for us," Gora told The Associated Press. "I'm disappointed and I'm sure people back home will also be disappointed, too."

Gora also said that all Nigerian athletes were given tests prior to the games except those that were in the United States or Europe.

"Since Oludamola was in the U.S. she didn't go through the process," Gora said.

The World Anti-Doping Agency recently loosened the classification of Methylexanemine for next year to the "specified stimulant" list, which covers drugs that are more susceptible to inadvertent use and can carry reduced penalties. Sanctions for use of the drug can be reduced if athletes can prove they did not intend to enhance performance. Penalties can range from a warning to a two-year ban.

WADA said Methylexanemine was sold as a medicine until the early 1970s and has now reappeared in some nutritional supplements and cooking oils.

About a dozen Indian athletes who were to compete at the Commonwealth Games tested positive for the drug in recent months.

They were suspended by the national anti-doping agency, but that was revoked after WADA reclassified the drug. However, not all the athletes have been cleared for participation. The next date for their hearing is Oct. 21.

Fennell said Oludamola's result was the first positive test of the games.

"We have conducted over 900 tests to date and we've had results from just over 700," Fennell said. "But unfortunately I have to record and report to you that we've had a positive result."

Pearson originally crossed first in the 100 final at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in 11.28 seconds. But hours after celebrating her victory, the Australian sprinter — an Olympic hurdles silver medalist — was disqualified for the false start.

Oludamola was then given the gold medal, and Natasha Mayers of St. Vincent and the Grenadines was moved up to silver.

If Oludamola is stripped of the medal, then Mayers would stand to claim the gold. Katherine Endacott of England, who crossed fourth in the race but received the bronze medal after the disqualification, would then be moved up to silver and Bertille Delphine Atangana of Cameroon would get bronze.

Oludamola also ran in the semifinals of the 200 on Sunday, but failed to advance after finishing fourth in her heat with a time of 23.95 seconds.

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