Robert Farah Provisionally Suspended by ITF After Testing Positive

AFP

London: Robert Farah, the world's top-ranked men's doubles player, was provisionally suspended by the International Tennis Federation on Tuesday after testing positive for a banned steroid, pending a full hearing.

The ITF said boldenone was found in the Colombian player's system after an out-of-competition test in October.

"On 11 January 2020, Mr Farah was charged with an anti-doping rule violation under article 2.1 of the programme (presence of a prohibited substance in a player's sample) and was provisionally suspended with effect from 21 January 2020," an ITF statement said.

"Mr Farah had (and retains) the right to apply to the chair of the independent tribunal convened to hear his case why the provisional suspension should not be imposed, but has chosen not to exercise that right to date."

Farah wrote on his social media accounts last week: "I'm going through one of the saddest moments of my life and, without a doubt, the saddest of my sporting career."

Boldenone is widely used by farmers in Colombia to boost the growth of cows, but it is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

In 2018, the Colombian Olympic Committee warned its athletes about the presence of Boldenone in beef.

"I'm sure that's what generated the result from the test in question," said Farah.

Canada-born Farah, 32, and fellow Colombian Juan Sebastian Cabal won the Wimbledon and US Open doubles titles last year.

The pair were also runners-up at the Australian Open in 2018 and had been due to play in the ongoing Grand Slam in Melbourne until the announcement of his doping case last week.

Cabal has teamed up with Jaume Munar of Spain in Australia.

FARAH HAPPY TO HAVE DOPING SAMPLES RETESTED

Former Olympic champion Mo Farah said on Tuesday he is happy for his old doping samples to be retested at any time.

The World Anti-Doping Agency is expected to retest the samples from athletes who trained at Alberto Salazar's controversial Nike Oregon Project.

The WADA probe comes after American coach Salazar was banned for four years in 2019 for doping violations following a probe by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

Britain's Farah trained at the now-defunct Oregon base between 2010 and 2017, leaving in the same year Salazar was charged by the USADA.

The 36-year-old -- the 2012 and 2016 Olympic gold medallist in both the 5000m and 10,000m -- has never tested positive at any stage in his career.

UK Anti-Doping chief executive Nicole Sapstead said last week that it would need to see "credible evidence" that there was a justification to hand over samples to any other agency.

Farah took to social media to reveal he won't complain if his existing samples are looked at again.

"I've seen reports of my name in connection to UKAD and WADA about sample retesting," Farah tweeted.

"Just to be clear, I was not consulted about this and as I've said many times, I am happy for any anti-doping body to test any of my previous samples anytime."