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Appeal panel partially clears Capes-trained Wallader

By Matt Slater

Shot putter Rachel Wallader
The talented Wallader missed out on this year's Commonwealth Games

British shot putter Rachel Wallader has had her Olympic eligibility returned after a landmark ruling by a UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) appeal tribunal.

The 21-year-old athlete failed a routine drugs test in May for the stimulant methylhexaneamine (MHA) and was given a one-year ban in August.

Wallader has always admitted taking MHA but only inadvertently, as it was not labelled on a dietary supplement.

The UKAD panel accepted this last week and has reduced her ban to four months.

This means Wallader, who is coached by three-time Olympian and former "World's Strongest Man" Geoff Capes, will not be prohibited from competing for Britain at the Olympics or England at the Commonwealth Games. Only bans of longer than six months result in this sanction.

For Capes, the UKAD ruling is a "vindication" of Wallader and himself.

"This is fantastic news for Rachel, who is a lovely girl and a very talented athlete," Capes, 61, told BBC Sport.

The outcome of this case demonstrates how vigilant athletes must be when it comes to supplements

UKAD's Andy Parkinson

"But she should never have been subjected to this in the first place. She has missed an entire season and a chance to compete at this year's Commonwealth Games.

"Right from the outset we provided evidence that Rachel had checked the banned list more than once and had consulted the company that made the supplement as to what was in it.

"But she got trampled on in the first hearing so I am delighted with this partial reversal."

Wallader's case has added significance as MHA has been at the centre of a flurry of doping cases over the last 18 months.

Five Jamaican sprinters tested positive for the substance in 2009 and a spate of athletes failed tests for it at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi in October.

The most recent case involves nine unnamed athletes from Australia and they will no doubt be encouraged by Wallader's successful appeal.

Wallader, a sports therapy student at the University of Birmingham, ingested the MHA in a Muscle Finesse product called "Endure".

The stimulant was labelled on its contents as "1,3-dimethylamylamine", a synonym for MHA but not one previously listed on any World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) banned list.

Wallader's lawyer Walter Nicholls of the Manchester-based firm George Davies argued this meant she was eligible for a more lenient punishment than the already reduced ban of one year (the usual minimum ban is now two years).

Nicholls also pointed out MHA had been reclassified as a less serious substance by Wada shortly after Wallader's hearing and was therefore doubly unlucky. And he underlined her prompt admission (she even listed the supplement on her anti-doping form) and co-operation.

"The panel accepted that a stimulant taken two days before the competition would not aid performance and that MHA was not listed on the label," said Nicholls.

"I understand this substance is derived from geranium oil and can even be found in some jams, so it's easy to see how people can fall foul of this.

"The advice given to athletes needs to be revised and updated to emphasise the dangers of taking supplements. The only real solution is to not take them at all."

That last point is one UKAD has picked up on in a timely reminder to all British sportsmen and women about the dangers of contaminated supplements.

"The outcome of this case demonstrates how vigilant athletes must be when it comes to supplements," UKAD chief executive Andy Parkinson stated.

"There is no guarantee that any supplement is free from a prohibited substance and athletes are ultimately responsible for anything found in their system, no matter how it gets there."



see also
Unnamed Australians test positive
23 Oct 10 |  Sport Homepage
Third Nigerian fails drugs test
15 Oct 10 |  Commonwealth Games
Indian athlete fails drugs test
13 Oct 10 |  Commonwealth Games
British shot putter is suspended
22 Jun 10 |  Athletics
GB shot putters handed suspension
08 Feb 10 |  Athletics
Jamaicans given three-month ban
14 Sep 09 |  Athletics


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