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Schöber Among Latest Doping Cases

Apr 30, 2010  - Craig Lord

More doping cases to report today. The DSV, the German swimming federation has announced that an arbitration panel in Kassel ruled against Sonja Schöber (Dortmund SG) and has imposed a one-year suspension until November 5 this year after the swimmer tested positive for irregular levels of testosterone.

The case must be reported to FINA, which may then raise the penalty to two years in accordance with the WADA Code. The DSV does not report why the swimmer should receive a penalty of one and not two years, the longer period more common in such cases. Media reports in Europe suggest that a food supplement was cited as responsible for the adverse finding. The case has some similarities with that of Jessica Hardy in the US, in so far as the length of penalty imposed at national level and the likely demands of WADA.

Schober's best 100m breaststroke effort is a 1:07.81 from German nationals and Olympic trials in 2008. That marked an improvement from a 1:09.20 in 2007. In 2009, Schober's best was a 1:08.38.

On supplements, the questions for swimmers are many, including: why do you need food supplements; what is it you think they bring to you; and if you do need them, did you get a doctor to check what is in the substance, given that you live in a world where you can walk into many a fitness-food store in the world and buy products over the counter that clearly fall foul of anti-doping rules. Add to that the most important footnote to all such cases: the WADA Code places responsibility for what enters the bloodstream with you, the athlete. And that footnote in Olympic sport existed long before WADA did. Ignorance is no defence at all.

Hardy claimed that she too had fallen foul of a supplement when she tested positive and served a suspension that kept her out of action at the 2008 Olympic Games and the 2009 world championships. Hardy is waiting to hear from  CAS, after a recent hearing in Lausanne, as to whether she will be able to compete at the London 2012 Games, after WADA challenged the imposition of a one-year suspension, demanding instead a penalty of two years. The two-year-penalty carries a rider: banned from future Olympics.

In a third doping case this week (along with the Brazilian case of Daynara de Paula) FINA reports that on September 3, 2009, "swimmer Naskar Uma Pada (IND) was tested positive to the substance Mephentermine and its Metabolite Phentermine (Class S6.a Non Specified Stimulants) following a doping control test conducted with the occasion of Inter Service Aquatics Championships. The National Anti Doping Agency of India imposed a sanction of 2 years’ ineligibility on the athlete starting on September 3rd, 2009."