Doping: Canadian pole vaulter tested positive for cocaine before Rio

Thu Oct 6, 2016 4:53pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Steve Keating

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian world champion pole vaulter Shawn Barber was at the Rio Olympics despite earlier testing positive for cocaine but the decision to allow him to compete was the right one, Athletics Canada said on Thursday.

The Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada's ruling was released on Thursday and said Barber inadvertently ingested the banned substance during a sexual encounter the night before the Canadian Olympic trials in July with a woman he met online who had taken cocaine.

Barber, who set a Canadian record and won the national title the following day, had faced a possible two-year ban imposed by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) but was ruled no fault or negligence for an anti-doping rule violation by an independent arbitrator.

The International Association of Athletics Federations and World Anti-Doping Agency both reviewed the decision and turned down their right to appeal.

"Forensic toxicologists have looked at the case and understood ... that it was impossible to have taken this amount of cocaine intentionally," Barber's lawyer, Paul Greene, told a conference call.

"You have inadvertent ingestion of cocaine that is passed to an athlete by way of kissing which is exactly what happened."

Considered one of Canada's best bets for a gold medal in Rio Barber scraped through qualification before finishing a disappointing 10th.

Barber's hearing was held on Aug. 5, the day of the Rio Olympics opening ceremony, with the decision issued on Aug. 11 but the 22-year-old pole vaulter insisted the distraction did not impact his performance.   Continued...

Canada's Shawn Barber in action during the men's pole vault final. Reuters / Phil Noble