The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has suspended shooting Para sport athlete Saeed Mohammed Abdulla Alblooshi for a period of two years for committing an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV), in breach of the IPC Anti-Doping Code (IPC Code).
On 11 November 2022, a urine sample was collected from the athlete in competition during the R9-Mixed 50m Rifle prone SH2 event at the Al Ain 2022 World Shooting Para Sport Championships. Laboratory testing revealed that the sample contained Propranolol and its metabolite 4-hydroxypropranolol (Propranolol), a Prohibited Substance listed under class P1 (beta-blockers) of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) 2022 Prohibited List.
Propranolol is commonly used to treat high blood pressure, irregular heart rate, performance anxiety, tremors and to prevent migraine headaches. It has been known to have performance-enhancing effects for athletes in shooting sports and is prohibited at all times for athletes in shooting Para sport.
The athlete had not applied for a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) for the use of Propranolol.
Upon being notified of the Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF), the athlete accepted a voluntary provisional suspension on 6 February 2023. On 26 April 2023, the athlete was charged with an ADRV pursuant to the IPC Code (IPC IF Rules).
In this case, the IPC did not seek to establish that the violation was intentional. Accordingly, the IPC argued that the applicable period of ineligibility should be two years.
The athlete did not dispute the AAF and the fact that he was taking Propranolol, but sought a reduction in the period of Ineligibility on the basis that he bore No Significant Fault or Negligence for the ADRV. The athlete relied mainly on his lack of education and understanding of the requirements in the IPC Code, and that he had no intention to use Propranolol for performance-enhancing purposes.
A hearing of the IPC Independent Anti-Doping Tribunal was held on 26 October 2023.
In ruling that the athlete should not be entitled to any reduction of the default two-year period of Ineligibility, the Independent Tribunal found that the athlete had not taken any preventative steps to ensure none of his medication contained any Prohibited Substance. There is a bare minimum requirement for every athlete to take reasonable steps to ensure they are not taking medication that is on the Prohibited List. This list is easily accessible online.
As a result of the ADRV, the athlete is ineligible for competition and other sporting activities (other than authorised anti-doping education or rehabilitation programmes) for two years from 6 February 2023 to 5 February 2025, taking into account the provisional suspension served. All results obtained by the athlete from 11 November 2022 to 6 February 2023 were disqualified with all resulting consequences, including forfeiture of any medals, points and prizes.
Jude Ellis, Head of Anti-Doping at the IPC, said:
“This case serves as a timely reminder that athletes must make themselves aware of their rights and responsibilities under the IPC code. This includes responsibility for anything they ingest or use that may result in a positive test. Athletes are strongly advised to seek advice from a medical or appropriately trained professional to ensure medication they are prescribed does not contain a substance or method included on the Prohibited List. If no alternative treatment is available and an athlete needs to take medication that contains a Prohibited Substance or Method for health reasons, they are advised to apply for a TUE as soon as practicable.
"This case also highlights the importance of anti-doping education. NPCs are strongly encouraged to work with their national or regional anti-doping organisation to ensure their athletes receive education appropriate for their competition level.”
As a signatory of the World Anti-Doping Code, the IPC remains committed to a doping-free sporting environment. While the IPC continues to find ways to support anti-doping education on a local level, athletes are reminded that it is their personal duty to apply for a TUE as soon as practicable, inform themselves of the Prohibited List, be knowledgeable of and comply with the IPC Code and take full responsibility as to what they ingest.