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Former world number one Simona Halep banned for four years for doping violations

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Former world number one Simona Halep has been given a four-year suspension from tennis following breaches of the sport’s anti-doping programme, the International Tennis Integrity Agency said Tuesday.

The 31-year-old Romanian tested positive for the banned substance roxadustat last year and was charged with a separate second anti-doping breach in May “relating to irregularities in her athlete biological passport (ABP)”.

Halep, a two-time Grand Slam singles champion, had been provisionally suspended since October 2022. An independent tribunal said this would count in her period of full suspension, which will now run from October 7 2022 to October 6 2026.

The case remains subject to appeal.

An independent tribunal, which heard evidence from Halep, the winner of the women’s singles titles at the 2018 French Open and 2019 Wimbledon championships, met in London on June 28-29.

On September 11, the tribunal confirmed it had found Halep had committed intentional violations under Article 2 of the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (TADP).

One of these was the presence and use of roxadustat as evidenced in Halep’s urine sample collected on August 29 2022 at the US Open.

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The other was the use of a prohibited substance or method during 2022 based on collection and analysis of 51 blood samples provided by the player as part of the ABP programme.

Halep has claimed experts found she had accidentally taken a contaminated supplement.

But an ITIA statement issued Tuesday said that while the tribunal accepted Halep had taken a contaminated supplement, they also “determined the volume the player ingested could not have resulted in the concentration of roxadustat found in the positive sample”.

AFP

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