Bogota, Feb 11 (IANS) The International Tennis Federation has lifted the provisional suspension it imposed on reigning Wimbledon and the US Open men’s doubles champion Robert Farah following his positive test for the banned substance Boldenone, an anabolic steroid.
As a result of the ITF’s decision, the Canadian-born Colombian player has been cleared to return to competition immediately, reports Efe news.
“Mr. Farah’s account of how the Boldenone entered his system was accepted and it was determined that he bears no fault or negligence for the violation,” the ITF said in a statement on Monday.
That substance was found in a urine sample that Farah had provided in Cali, Colombia, in an out-of-competition test on October 17, 2019, and which was analysed at a World Anti-Doping Agency laboratory in Montreal, Canada, the ITF said on January 21.
Farah had said in a letter posted January 14 on social media that he had not knowingly broken the rules, noting that he had presented a clean sample just two weeks before the positive test and that no banned substances had been found in “at least 15 other random tests throughout the year.”
The doubles star said then that Boldenone is frequently found in Colombian meat and that he was certain that the positive test result stemmed from his consumption of that food, also adding that in 2018 the Colombian Olympic Committee had warned athletes in that regard.
The 33-year-old, who shares the world No. 1 ranking in men’s doubles with Colombian long time partner Juan Sebastian Cabal, issued a press release Monday in which he pointed to the evidence that led to the ITF’s decision.
Farah noted that the concentrations of Boldenone in his system were extremely low and that in a subsequent test on December 29 he tested negative for any prohibited substance.
He also said clean urine samples he had provided in tests in early October ruled out the possibility that the source of that banned substance was an injection “because such an injection on or after October 7 would have resulted in higher levels of Boldenone than were found.”
“I would like to thank my family, my partner Sebas, my entire team, my sponsors … and all my friends and fans in Colombia and around the world that have supported me during this trying time to prove my innocence,” Farah said.
Due to the provisional suspension, Farah was unable to compete in the recently concluded Australian Open.
Cabal, who teamed instead with Spain’s Jaume Munar, lost in the second round to the veteran American doubles team of Mike and Bob Bryan.