Sports (National Post)
Canadian wakeboarder Aaron Rathy tests positive for banned substance at Pan Am Games
Sean Fitz-Gerald Oct 28, 2011 – 2:45 PM ET | Last Updated: Oct 28, 2011 7:23 PM ET
Last Saturday, Aaron Rathy was signing autographs and posing for pictures under a cloudless Mexican sky after winning a silver medal. Less than a week later, the Canadian wakeboarder was being forced to give it back after testing positive for a banned substance at the Pan American Games.
The 23-year-old from Nanaimo, B.C., was stripped of his medal after one of his samples returned evidence of methylhexaneamine, a banned stimulant he said he took accidentally after buying a supplement at a store seen in malls across Canada.
“I am deeply sorry and was completely unaware of the banned substance in the OxyElite Pro I had taken,” he said in a statement relayed by Water Ski and Wakeboard Canada on Friday. “I purchased the product at a GNC health food store, and to my knowledge [it] was all safe to take.”
According to Canada’s leading watchdog, though, Rathy should have known better.
“We have put out an athlete advisory to notify athletes that it [methylhexaneamine] is a substance that can be found in both dietary supplements as well as in energy drinks,” said Rosemary Pitfield, director, executive operations and public affairs with the Canadian Centre for Ethics In Sport. “It is often not on the label, and we always warn athletes, first of all, that they really shouldn’t be taking supplements.”
If they do decide to take supplements, she said, they should be very, very cautious.
“Pharmaceutical products are very different from supplement products in the way that they’re manufactured — they’re much more regulated,” Pitfield said. “Supplement manufacturers come from all over the world and their ingredients come from all over the world, and it’s not as rigid in terms of the laws and certification around supplements that are around pharmaceuticals.”
Rathy will have to return his medal.
“The athlete is cooperating fully, has accepted responsibility, and apologized for the inadvertent use of a banned substance,” the Canadian Olympic Committee said in a release. “While the COC does not condone the use of banned substances, we are supporting the athlete’s right to a fair hearing and due process.”
Methylhexaneamine is a mild stimulant commonly used in nasal decongestants and as a dietary supplement. It was only banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency in 2010.
Rathy is not the first athlete to be disqualified from the Pan Am Games. A Chilean weightlifter, a Brazilian runner and a Puerto Rican mountain biker were removed from competition before the Games began for failed drug tests.
Meat has also been deemed a hazard in Mexico, where authorities conceded some farmers still inject a steroid — clenbuterol — into their cattle. The result is that athletes face the risk of consuming tainted meat on the streets in Guadalajara, and Canadian and American team officials warned their teams not to eat outside the athletes village.
Rathy won the first of 10 Canadian medals at Boca Laguna Water Ski Club, a private, man-made facility with a 750-metre stretch of water dredged inland about an hour’s drive south of Guadalajara. And he was a popular medal winner, happily posing for pictures with volunteers at the venue after his second-place finish.
Wakeboarding is his full-time job, with as many as a dozen sponsors helping to fund his travel all across the world.
“I flew, like, 250,000 miles last year alone,” he said the day of his medal win. “I’ve been everywhere. I’ve spent a lot of time in Australia, a bit of time in Asia. I’ve been to the [United Arab Emirates] in the last few years. All over Canada and the U.S.”
Taken from the National Post ( http://sports.nationalpost.com/2011/10/28/canadian-wakeboarder-aaron-rathy-tests-positive-for-banned-substance-at-pan-am-games/ )
Author: Sean Fitz-Gerald
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