Lausanne, June 1, 2016: The International Canoe Federation has underlined its strong stance against doping and will take swift and decisive action following a number of failed tests from athletes who have qualified for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
The statement from the sports leaders comes after canoe sprint athletes from Romania, Belorussia and Kazakstan have provided positive samples following a series of out-of-competition tests.
The majority of positive tests are related to the misuse of the well-documented performance enhancer, meldonium.
The ICF has taken swift action and provisionally suspended the offending athletes from competing.
ICF Secretary General, Simon Toulson said:
“We have been made aware of the positive tests and are currently working with each of the National Anti-Doping Agencies to clarify the results.
“The ICF operates a zero-tolerance approach to doping violations and will suspend any athlete or federation found guilty.
“The ICF is not the result manager for any of these cases and the process of hearings rests with the National Anti-Doping Agencies.
“However, we are collaborating with these organisations on a daily basis to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.
“We are saddened that this has become an issue in our sport and are working swiftly to ensure the right actions to address the present situation are taken.
ICF Chair Medical and Anti-Doping, Dr Donald McKenzie said:
“The ICF has a strong anti-doping program that meets or exceeds all of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) requirements.
“We have continued to expand our out-of-competition target testing and biological passport program, these steps underline our sports commitment to ensuring clean competition.
“We also see education as a key element to achieve a clean sport and have over 4000 registrants on our anti-doping education program, Pure Paddling Performance.”
ICF 3rd Vice President, IOC Member and multiple Olympic Champion, Tony Estanguet said:
“Clean competition is crucial to ensure the integrity of our sport. I have been working closely with our athletes and the medical and anti-doping committee to ensure that the ICF continues to win the battle against cheats within our sport.
“As a member of the WADA Executive Commitee I am close to the ongoing issues that embroil sport and am confident in the ICFs processes to ensure clean competition.”
The ICF will now work with the relevant authorities and follow the process outlined in WADA ’s rules.
WADA’s additional research on Meldonium will be released mid-June.
The ICF is clear that all athletes proven to have violated the doping regulations will face a lengthy ban and, where applicable, Olympic qualification places will be reallocated. —- ICF