Steven Colvert maintains innocence after ban

Sprinter maintains innocence despite appeal failure of two-year doping suspension

Steven Colvert intends to return to competitive racing after the completion of his ban. Photograph: Ian MacNichol/Inpho.

Steven Colvert intends to return to competitive racing after the completion of his ban. Photograph: Ian MacNichol/Inpho.

 

Irish sprinter Steven Colvert continues to maintain his innocence despite failing on several grounds to prove a positive doping sample for EPO – the blood-boosting hormone erythropoietin – somehow wasn’t actually his.

His two-year ban has now been formally announced, although only after a lengthy process during which Colvert’s legal team contested the finding: he returned the positive sample over a year ago, on May 20th 2014, before being informed a month later, on June 17th.

Proved positive

While Colvert immediately declared his innocence, his B sample also proved positive. All the analysis on his sample was carried out at the Wada-accredited lab in Cologne.

According to the independent hearing decision released by the Irish Sports Council, Colvert’s legal team contested various aspects of that analysis, questioning whether the blood and urine samples were taken in the wrong other, whether the sample was actually his, while also requesting information on the testing of other athletes within a five-day period before and after his test.

His legal team also contested the interpretation of the sample in Cologne, and whether the amount of EPO in his test should actually be considered illegal. None of these were upheld by the hearing panel.

Colvert still has 21 days to submit a formal appeal against the two-year ban, or take it to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Indeed Colvert took to his Twitter account to suggest he may yet do that, claiming he had “not given up on this fight and will continue my efforts to clear my name”.

In addressing the decision, he said: “After spending the last year trying to clear my name of the doping allegations, a decision has been made.

“Unfortunately the panel has found me guilty of doping . . . Miscarriages of justice come in many forms, unfortunately this time it has involved me.

“I will be returning to the sport I love in September with my head held high, safe in the knowledge that I have never doped . . . I would like to thank everyone whom (sic) has supported me in the last year. Unfortunately the result is not the one we were looking for.”

Most exciting

Colvert, a Mullingar native who runs with the Crusaders club in Dublin, was Irish 200m champion in 2013, and had emerged as one of the most exciting Irish sprint prospects of recent years.

 

He 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.

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