A member of the Chinese team that competed at the AVC U18 Asian Volleyball Championships has been given a 10-month suspended for a violation of anti-doping rules.
The athlete, whose name has been redacted from the FIVB Disciplinary Panel decision documentation because she is a minor, tested positive for the banned substance sibutramine. The positive test took place on March 13th, 2017 in Chong Qing, China.
The athlete, who was playing in her first international event, claims that the positive test was the result of a supplement she was taking (which she referred to as ‘medicine’) on advice of a doctor for a ‘permanent medical condition.’ The athlete and her representatives claim that the supplements were an alternative to surgery. She said that one of the effects of sibutramine was rapid weight loss, and she didn’t experience any, and that one of the side-effects of the substance was the exact condition that she was trying to counteract.
The athlete was taking 3 supplements recommended by her doctor, Kokando Beauluck A, By-Health Colon Cleanse, and Shinya Koso Night Diet. She says that she researched the ingredients of the first two, but because the label of the 3rd was in Japanese, she didn’t research its ingredients. The Japanese Anti-Doping Association reviewed the ingredients of Shinya Koso Night Diet, and said that while there was no apparent banned substances in it, because there were natural ingredients, they could not “unconditionally” conclude that it was free of banned substances.
The FIVB Disciplinary’s Commentary indicated that they largely believed the athlete’s explanation, and combined with the fact that she was a minor, that allowed them to first reduce the suspension to the 2-year variety, and then use the circumstances to further reduce the suspension to 10 months. They did, however, reiterate that athletes have a duty of care to ensure that they are not taking banned substances, and that especially in the case of the Japanese-labeled supplement, the athlete did not meet that duty of care.
The 10-month suspension was dated to June 6th, 2017 and will end on April 5th, 2018. All of the athlete’s individual competitive results between March 13th, 2017 and the date of the suspension will be disqualified, though her team’s overall results won’t be, barring other positive tests coming to light.