ITU anti-doping partner South Africa Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) recently announced one of their athletes tested positive for the banned drug, EPO (Erythropoietin) and will face a charge of doping at an independent tribunal. While the athlete is one of South Africa’s top cyclists, the positive test is relevant to triathlon because the anti-doping violation was triggered through the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP).
According to the SAIDS press release, Institute for Drug-Free Sport CEO, Khalid Galant said, “the athlete tested positive in an out-of-competition test conducted by the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport on 29 August 2012. The blood test showed suspicious activity with regard to possible manipulation of the blood profile and a subsequent urine test came back positive for the banned EPO drug.”
“His biological passport, which analyses the athlete’s blood profile, indicated suspicious activity and that triggered a targeted test for EPO. EPO testing gives us a window between 6 and 12 hours for testing because that’s how long it will show up in a test.”
Galant said that EPO is a hormone that artificially increases the red blood cell count, therefore increasing the athlete’s oxygen carrying capacity, and, in turn, enhances performance.
“The drug is especially beneficial in endurance sports where athletes are competing over long distances in sports like cycling, running and triathlon,” he added.
“This EPO positive is testament to the work we have done with the athlete biological passport, an essential tool in the fight against doping. We warned the sports community a year ago that we would be vigorous in our testing of both blood and urine of South Africa’s top athletes. We will continue to aggressively target EPO dopers.””
The ITU anti-doping team applauds the work done by SAIDS and respects the work that they are doing on our behalf with regards to the Athlete Biological Passport.