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Tennis Star Simona Halep Has Doping Ban Reduced

Image Credit: Simona Halep via Instagram

The former Wimbledon champion has had her ban from the sport reduced from four years to only nine months by the
Court of Arbitration for Sport. 


The decision means that Halep can return to playing the sport immediately after concerns that a four-year ban at the age of 32 would end her career.


The former world number one tested positive for Roxadustat- an anti-anemia medication that helps the production of red blood cells - in August 2022 at the US Open. 


The International Tennis Federation had found the Romanian tennis player guilty of two anti-doping violations, including a charge relating to a prohibited substance being detected in the player's urine and an irregularity in her Athlete’s Biological Passport (ABP), in particular, a blood sample demonstrating the use of a prohibited substance or prohibited method.


As a result, she was banned from the sport for four years, however, she appealed to CAS, with the hearing lasting three days, the 7th to the 9th of February 2024 in Lausanne Switzerland, which concluded with the appeal being partially upheld. 


In her appeal, Halep claimed that the Roxadustat had entered her body through a contaminated supplement, Keto MCT. Originally, this claim was not upheld as the quantity of Roxadustat in her blood was too high for contamination to be the case.


However, CAS believed the banned substance had entered the athlete’s body through contamination, saying that although Halep had not been careful and vigilant with the Keto MCT supplement, she had no intentions of doping, and as a result, the ban was reduced and backdated so it was carried out from 7 October 2022 until 6 July 2023.


The panel ordered the disqualification of all the competitive results that Halep achieved from 29 August 2022, the date of her positive sample, to 7 October 2022, when her ban began. Any titles, medals, ranking points, and prize money won between these dates were to be returned. 


CAS dismissed the charge relating to the Athlete’s Biological Passport (ABP) because there was not sufficient evidence that an anti-doping violation had occurred.


In a statement, Halep said: "Throughout this long and difficult process, I have maintained my belief that the truth will eventually come out and that a fair decision will be reached because I am and always have been a clean athlete.

"My faith in this process has been tested by the outrageous allegations that have been brought against me and the seemingly unlimited resources that have been aligned against me.

"But in the end, the truth prevailed, even if it took a lot longer than I would have liked.”

The International Tennis Integrity Agency has been ordered to pay Halep 20,000 Swiss Francs to contribute towards her legal fees and other expenses incurred as a result of the proceedings.

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