Anti-Doping Rule Violation: Romanian Tennis Star To Appeal Ban
Romania’s former world number one Simona Halep said on Tuesday that she would appeal to sport’s highest court against the decision of the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA), to ban her for four years after two separate anti-doping rule violations.
The former Wimbledon and French Open champion, Halep, had been provisionally suspended since October 2022 after testing positive for banned blood-booster roxadustat at the US Open last year where she lost in the first round.
Halep was “shocked and disappointed” and blamed contaminated supplements, adding that she “refused to accept their (ITIA) decision of a four-year ban” which runs until October 6th, 2026.
“I am continuing to train and do everything in my power to clear my name of these false allegations and return to the court,” Halep said.
“I intend to appeal this decision to The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and pursue all legal remedies against the supplement company in question.”
The ITIA said earlier on Tuesday it came to its conclusion based on the collection and analysis of 51 blood samples provided by Halep.
“The first (charge) related to an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) for the prohibited substance roxadustat at the U.S. Open in 2022, carried out through regular urine testing during competition,” the ITIA said in a statement.
“The second charge related to irregularities in Halep’s Athlete Biological Passport (ABP).”
Halep strongly denies knowingly taking roxadustat and said she had evidence to show small amounts of the anaemia drug entered her system from a contaminated licensed supplement.
“The tribunal accepted Halep’s argument that they had taken a contaminated supplement, but determined the volume the player ingested could not have resulted in the concentration of roxadustat found in the positive sample, ” the ITIA said.
It added that the ABP charge was also upheld as three independent experts were unanimous that “likely doping” was the explanation for the irregularities in Halep’s profile.
“The volume of evidence for the tribunal to consider in both the roxadustat and ABP proceedings was substantial,” Karen Moorhouse, CEO at the ITIA, said.