August 4, 2021

Sergey Shubenkov: Russia hurdler escapes doping ban in ‘genuinely exceptional’ case

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Russia's Sergey Shubenkov (front) competes in the Men's 110m Hurdles heats at the 2019 IAAF Athletics World Championships at the Khalifa International Stadium
Sergey Shubenkov won the 110m hurdles at the 2015 World Championship

Russia’s former world champion hurdler Sergey Shubenkov has escaped a four-year doping ban after it was found that he unintentionally ingested a diuretic prescribed to his three-month-old son.

He tested positive for acetazolamide, a masking agent on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of banned substances.

The Athletics Integrity Unit referred the case to a disciplinary panel, which found it to be “genuinely exceptional”.

He argued preparing the medicine left “invisible particles” in his kitchen.

The tribunal accepted 30-year-old Shubenkov’s plea of “no fault or negligence” for the positive out-of-competition sample he returned in December 2020.

“A child at this age cannot swallow, so the pills must have been prepared in a certain way,” Shubenkov wrote in the post, which included a message of thanks for the AIU.

“That resulted in tiny almost invisible particles of powder being at my kitchen that have caused a positive test.

“Luckily, it ended up nicely.”

The decision to clear him could allow Shubenkov to compete internationally as a neutral athlete, including for the rearranged Tokyo Olympics beginning on 23 July

In a statement, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) confirmed the Russian would serve no period of ineligibility.

“After a thorough investigation of the athlete’s explanation during results management process, the AIU accepted that the positive finding resulted from his unintentional ingestion of residue from medication being used to treat a family member,” the statement continued.