World champ Jo­haug faces 14-month ban

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Nor­way’s Anti-Dop­ing Agency yes­ter­day called for a 14-month sus­pen­sion against cross-coun­try skier Therese Jo­haug, a seven-time world cham­pion, af­ter she failed a Septem­ber drug test.

The re­quest will now be for­warded to an ar­bi­tra­tion body at the Nor­we­gian Sports Con­fed­er­a­tion, which will rule on the sanc­tion to be im­posed on the for­mer Olympic gold medal­list.

If the Agency’s re­quest is up­held then Jo­haug would miss the start of the next World Cup in ad­di­tion to the cur­rent one but could be back for the Pyeongchang Win­ter Olympics in Fe­bru­ary 2018.

“I am glad that (the prose­cut­ing com­mit­tee within the Anti-Dop­ing Agency) be­lieves in what I have said,” Jo­haug said in a state­ment sent by her lawyer. “But I do not un­der­stand that what has hap­pened can jus­tify 14 months of sus­pen­sion.”

“I am now look­ing for­ward to see­ing the case be­fore the ar­bi­tra­tion body and I hope that it can hap­pen as quickly as pos­si­ble,” said the 28-year-old skier, who has al­ready been sus­pended for two months pend­ing a fi­nal sanc­tion. Jo­haug tested pos­i­tive for traces of the pro­hib­ited an­abolic steroid closte­bol, banned by the World Anti-Dop­ing Agency (WADA), dur­ing an out-of-com­pe­ti­tion con­trol on Septem­ber 16.

The steroid was con­tained in a lip cream called Tro­fo­der­min, which she used to treat burns dur­ing a train­ing ses­sion at altitude in Italy in late Au­gust.

Na­tional ski team doc­tor Fredrik Bendik­sen, who has in­sisted he did not re­alise the cream con­tained closte­bol, has taken full re­spon­si­bil­ity and re­signed from his post in Oc­to­ber.

“As a high-level in­ter­na­tional ath­lete, Therese Jo­haug is sub­ject to strict in­ter­na­tional reg­u­la­tions,” An­stein Gjengedal, an of­fi­cial at the Nor­we­gian Anti-Dop­ing Agency said in a state­ment.

“The ath­lete’s re­spon­si­bil­ity for what he or she in­gests has been es­tab­lished in a num­ber of dop­ing ver­dicts at the na­tional and in­ter­na­tional level,” he said.

The anti-dop­ing agency has re­quested that the sus­pen­sion be ap­plied retroac­tively, from Oc­to­ber 18.

An im­mensely pop­u­lar ath­lete in her win­ter sports coun­try, Jo­haug won re­lay gold at the 2010 Van­cou­ver Olympics, and sil­ver in the 30km freestyle and bronze in the classic 10km in Sochi 2014.

This is the sec­ond in­ci­dent to em­bar­rass the Nor­we­gian Ski Fed­er­a­tion this year. At the end of July, men’s cross-coun­try skier Martin Sundby was sus­pended for two months and stripped of his 2014-15 over­all World Cup and Tour de Ski ti­tles for unau­tho­rised use of ven­to­line.

The Fed­er­a­tion had also as­sumed the re­spon­si­bil­ity, hav­ing failed to re­quest an autho­ri­sa­tion for the use of the anti-asth­matic. — AFP

OSLO:

OSLO: In this Thurs­day, Oct. 13, 2016 file photo, Nor­we­gian three-time Olympic cross-coun­try ski­ing medal­ist Therese Jo­haug, right, ar­rives for press con­fer­ence in Oslo. Nor­way’s anti-dop­ing agency yes­ter­day, has called for a 14-month dop­ing ban. — AP

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