A second player has reportedly tested positive for the banned substance clenbuterol at the finals of the 2017 FIVB World Grand Prix.
According to Corriere.it, Serbian setter Ana Antonijevic has tested positive for the same substance as Italian opposite Miriam Sylla.
The substance, while outlawed in the United States and most western countries, is believed to be common in the Chinese food supply, with a 2011 outbreak in pork products being the most notorious. When three-time Tour de France (cycling’s premier road race event) winner Alberto Contador tested positive for the substance in 2010, he blamed it on having eaten food in China.
With two positive tests from athletes staying in the same hotel at the FIVB World Grand Prix final, both federations have pushed blame onto possibly tainted food. All 6 teams participating in the tournament’s Final 6 were housed at the same hotel in Nanjing, China.
While the tainted food argument, if accepted, could reduce the 22-year old’s maximum 4-year suspension to a ‘no-fault’ finding and no punishment, that procedure would be unlikely to be completed before next week’s start of the European Women’s Volleyball Championships. Sylla was already dropped from the Italian roster after her test became public.
Clenbuterol is usually prescribed in some countries to people with respiratory issues, such as severe asthma. Most athletes use it as a performance enhancer for an increase in aerobic capacity, central nervous system stimulation, and oxygen transportation.The drug is so strong that most countries only allow it for veterinary use. In the US, Clenbuterol is not an ingredient of any therapeutic drug approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.
Antonijevic split time at setter for Serbia in the tournament, recording 3.06 assists/set. Their more frequent setter was Bojana Zivkovic, though Antonijevic played the entire bronze medal match. Serbia took the bronze medal in the tournament after beating China 3-1 in the 3rd-place game. Like Italy, a single failed doping test wouldn’t be enough to strip Serbia of that team result, though Antonijevic could lose her share of the award (medals and prize money).