Games overshadowed by second positive drugs test

The Commonwealth Games was overshadowed by a second positive doping test on Tuesday as the event’s top official warned athletes about the pitfalls of the massive, unregulated supplement industry.

Samuel Okon, a 110m hurdler who finished sixth in the final, became the second competitor from Nigeria to test positive for the banned stimulant methylhexanamine.

The same substance was involved in the failed drugs test of women’s 100m gold medal winner Osayemi Oludamola, who is still awaiting results of her B sample.

“On anti-doping, we have now conducted 1 200 tests and again I regret to inform you that we have a second anti-doping violation,” said Commonwealth Games Federation chief Mike Fennell.

“It is Nigerian 110m hurdler Samuel Okon who tested positive for the same substance [as Oludamola].

“It’s a stimulant and we have notified the athlete.”

He said a provisional hearing would be held into the matter later Tuesday but that Okon had, unofficially, waived his right to have a B test.

Fennell added that his team had held talks with the Nigerian delegation about the embarrassing results and he was “satisfied they are taking the matter very seriously”.

“They are doing their own investigations,” he added.

After the Oludamola scandal, Athletics Federation of Nigeria president Solomon Ogba reportedly said she was given prescription medicine to fight a nagging toothache and that was why she failed the test.

The substance involved, methylhexanamine, is a stimulant that was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of banned drugs in 2009.

It was reclassified earlier this year, meaning it can be used with a therapeutic use exception certificate and was the same substance found in 11 Indian athletes ahead of the Games.

Concerns of ‘same substance’
Fennell said he was concerned and warned of the pitfalls to athletes of taking supplements.

“We are concerned with the number of incidents that are coming up with the same substance,” he said.

“At this stage I cannot speak very definitively as to where it’s coming from but it appears that it may be coming from the use of supplements.

“The supplements industry is by and large an unregulated industry worldwide and it is an industry that is a cause of great concern, not only for the fight against doping but also the protection of athletes.”

He said a recent Wada probe into supplements concluded that the industry was worth in excess of $86-billion and that many supplements contained ingredients on their banned list.

“Athletes and officials and coaches have been warned continuously to monitor carefully all supplements taken by athletes and that they should pay no attention to the ingredients shown on the labels,” said Fennell.

“There are are all sort of claims as to what is in them and we have found that in many cases the claims are inaccurate. So many are misled into using these supplements.

“I do believe, as a personal comment, that more attention needs to be paid from an education point of view as to the risk one is taking when they use freely available supplements.”

“And to the fact that most of these supplements really do not assist with what they are expecting to do, or what the supplements promise to do.” – AFP

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Martin Parry
Martin Parry
AFP News Editor for Australia/New Zealand/Pacific

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