Simona Halep Slapped With 4-Year Doping Ban, Plans To Appeal
For months Simona Halep had wanted her doping case fast tracked to a resolution. The Romanian finally met with the courts over the summer and today the ITF handed down their ruling, and it wasn’t good.
Halep, the former No. 1, was slapped with a 4-year ban dating back a year for the usage of the drug roxadustat and “irregularities” in her Athlete Biological Passport (ABP), a second charge she was hit with in May.
Halep made her argument on June 28 and June 29 in London stating she unknowingly used a contaminated drug which she tested positive for on August 29 last year during the US Open.
The court didn’t see it that way on both charges.
“The tribunal accepted Halep’s argument that they had taken a contaminated supplement, but determined the volume the player ingested could not have resulted in the concentration of roxadustat found in the positive sample.
“The ABP charge was also upheld, with the tribunal stating that they had no reason to doubt the unanimous ‘strong opinion’ reached by each of the three independent Athlete Passport Management Unit (APMU) experts that ‘likely doping’ was the explanation for the irregularities in Halep’s profile.”
Halep, who began her provisional suspension last October, said she will fight it.
“The last year has been the hardest match of my life, and unfortunately my fight continues,” Halep said in a statement. “I have devoted my life to the beautiful game of tennis. I take the rules that govern our sport very seriously and take pride in the fact I have never knowingly or intentionally used any prohibited substance. I refused to accept their decision of a four-year ban.”
“I have taken 200 blood and urine tests to check for prohibited substances – all of which have been clean, until August 29, 2022. Ahead of the hard court season in 2022, upon recommendation from my trusted team and physiotherapist, I adjusted my nutritional supplements. None of the listed ingredients included any prohibited substances however we now know — and the tribunal agreed — one of them was contaminated with roxadustat. I was tested almost weekly after my initial positive test through early 2023, all of which came back negative.
“This group ignored the fact no prohibited substance has ever been found in my blood or urine samples with the sole exception of one August 29 positive test for roxadustat, which was present at an extremely low level and which, when considering my negative test three days prior, could only have been caused by accidental exposure to roxadustat.”
Halep does admit that she changed her supplements last summer, not long after hiring Patrick Mouratoglou. She is 31 now and will not be allowed to return to the sport until October of 2026 when she is 34.
Halep will appeal the decision.
My fight continues. pic.twitter.com/kx5uzrLWCz
— Simona Halep (@Simona_Halep) September 12, 2023
— Patrick Mouratoglou (@pmouratoglou) September 12, 2023
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