Steven Colvert banned for two years after positive EPO test

Sprinter failed a test last year and has now been banned by the Irish Sports Council

Athletics Ireland and the Irish Sports Council have confirmed sprinter Steven Colvert has committed an anti-doping rule violation and has been banned from competing for two years.

It was confirmed in June last year that the DCU student had tested positive for EPO but the sprinter protested his innonence and requested the ‘B’ sample be tested.

Upon further investigation it has been confirmed that he is to face a ban. Colvert has a right to appeal within 21 days.

Testing positive for EPO - the blood-boosting hormone erythropoietin - is somewhat unusual for a sprinter, as its main advantages are in increasing endurance. However, Athletics Ireland was informed of Colvert’s “adverse analytical finding” for the substance “recombinant erythropoietin” following an out-of-competition test carried out in Dublin on May 20th.

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Colvert, a Mullingar native, is the reigning Irish 200 metres champion, and has emerged as one of the most exciting Irish sprint prospects of recent years. He now runs with the Crusaders club in Dublin, and recently switched coaches to John Shields, and had narrowly missed out on representing Ireland at the London Olympics two years ago, when he missed the A-standard for the 200m by just .02 of a second, running 20.57 seconds.

The sprinter was informed of the positive finding at the time, and informed Athletics Ireland that while he doesn’t normally take supplements, he did purchase a generic multivitamin on the morning of the test in question, as he was in the middle of exams at DCU. He also admitted to taking an iron supplement, which he also purchased over the counter in a pharmacy.

Irish distance runner Martin Fagan returned last year from a two-year ban after testing positive for EPO in 2012, but he openly admitted to taking the substance. EPO is not particularly popular in sprinters, although disgraced US sports nutritionist Victor Conte claimed he regularly distributed EPO to sprinters Marian Jones and Tim Montgomery, both of whom were later banned after the infamous Balco scandal.