The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has issued its decision in the appeal arbitration between the Ukrainian gymnast Oleg Verniaiev (the Athlete), the Gymnastics Ethics Foundation (GEF) and the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) relating to the decision issued by GEF Disciplinary Commission dated 12 July 2021 (the Challenged Decision) in which the Athlete was found to have breached Art. 10.2.1.1 of the FIG Anti-Doping Rules (“ADR”) (presence of Meldonium in his urine sample of 26 August 2020) and sanctioned with a four-year period of ineligibility starting on 5 November 2020.
The CAS Panel partially upheld the appeal and reduced the four-year period of ineligibility to two years, still commencing on 5 November 2020, which was the first day of the Athlete’s provisional suspension.
On 26 August 2020, the Athlete was the subject of an out of competition doping control test. Laboratory analysis of the urine sample provided by the Athlete revealed the presence of Meldonium, a prohibited substance under the 2020 World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List (hormone and metabolic modulators). On 5 November 2020, the Athlete was informed of the Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) and accepted a provisional suspension. Following an investigation, on 12 July 2021, the GEF Disciplinary Commission issued the Challenged Decision.
During the CAS proceedings the Athlete submitted that the source of the Meldonium was contaminated food products, requested that the Challenged Decision be annulled, and that the period of ineligibility be reduced. On 15 December 2022, the CAS Panel held a hearing with the parties by video conference.
Following the hearing, the Panel deliberated and concluded that while the ADRV was upheld there was grounds for a reduction in the period of ineligibility from four years to two years. Accordingly, the Athlete was subject to a two-year period of ineligibility starting on 5 November 2020 which has now concluded.
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