Slovenian ice hockey player Ziga Jeglic is the third player to be sent home from the PyeongChang Winter Olympics after testing positive for a banned substance.
The Court of Arbitration for Sports’ Anti-Doping Division (ADD) concluded that Jeglic had been taking fenoterol, a performance enhancing drug used to open the airways to the lungs, during the competition.
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Jeglic has claimed that he took fenoterol under his doctor’s orders. However, the Olympics organisers have ordered him to leave the Olympic village within 24 hours.
What was said:
Accepting the decision, Jeglic said:
“I have overlooked the difference between comparable drugs, which are allowed and would enable me to use it for my respiratory problems during the Olympics. I apologise for my negligence to all the persons involved and I accept the further anti-doping procedures.”
Speaking on Jeglic’s removal from the Slovenian camp, an Slovenian Olympic committee spokesperson said:
“Ziga Jeglic will not play for Slovenia against Norway today. Until the completion of the procedure, the leadership of the Slovenian Olympic team cannot and will not make any statements.”
Who else has been accused:
Jeglic is the third player to be removed from the Games. He follows Russian curler Alexander Krushelnitsky, who was banned on Monday.
Following a test by the ADD, Krushelnitsky was found to have tested positive for meldonium, a banned substance that improves exercise capacity. He has since left the Olympic village, but remains in South Korea awaiting the results of a second test.
Krushelnitsky has been competing under the Olympic Athletes from Russia banner after a ban was placed on Russia following widespread doping at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
The Olympian claimed a bronze medal in mixed doubles curling alongside his wife Anastaasia Bryzgalova last week. However, he could be set to lose his medal if further tests confirm the use of performance enhancing drugs.
There are fears that the allegations against Krushelnitsky could throw Russian athletics into turmoil once again.
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Russian curler Viktoria Moiseeva said:
“It’s a catastrophe if it’s not just one Olympics but others too. It will throw sport in our country into turmoil.”
Given that both athletes had already competed in the Games, these two cases are the most serious.
However, Japanese short track speed skater Kei Saito was the first athlete to be sent home after testing positive for masking agent acetalozamide during the opening week of the game. Masking agents are generally used to cover up the use of other banned substances.
Saito had yet to compete in Pyeongchang.
The Olympics Committee has issued with him a provisional ban, which he accepted. The committee will make a final decision once the Games come to an end.
Why it matters:
The latest string of doping cases once again highlights the widespread use of performance enhancing drugs in athletics.
The case of Krushelnitsky will be particularly embarrassing for the Olympic Committee, given that Russian athletes had to prove their innocence in order to compete in Pyeongchang.
However, these cases also show that the Olympics are cracking down on doping and that their testing programme is working.
An IOC spokesperson said:
“On the one hand, it is extremely disappointing when prohibitive substances may have been used, but on the other hand, it shows the effectiveness of the anti-doping system at the Games.”
The 2018 Winter Olympics is in its final week. The Games will come to a close on Sunday, 25 February after two weeks in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Norway currently leads the medal table, having picked up 11 gold, nine silver and eight bronze medals. Germany and Canada make up the top three.