Namibia’s U/20 rugby team’s resounding 70-8 victory against Hong Kong was yesterday heavily overshadowed by a dark doping cloud, following revelations that one of Namibia’s players failed a doping test.
Following an Out of Competition Doping Control Test done on April 5 in Windhoek, ahead of the team’s departure to Harare, Zimbabwe where they are participating in the U/20 World Rugby Trophy tournament, the player’s urine samples were collected and sealed by an authorised doping Control Officer from the South African Institute for Drug Free Sport (SAIDFS).
The player, whose name the Namibia Rugby Union (NRU) yesterday vehemently refused to disclose, also signed a Doping Control Form acknowledging and agreeing to the collection of his urine samples – all in accordance with the International Standard for Testing and Investigations. The samples were then sent to a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accredited laboratory in Lausanne, Switzerland where thorough testing and analysis were done on the samples.
The results, which have caused a huge storm on the Namibian rugby fraternity, were finalised and returned to the NRU earlier this week. Shockingly, the adverse analytical findings reveal that banned substances, such as Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone and Methandienone were found in his urine samples.
Methandienone is a banned anabolic steroid with androgenic effects, while Dehydrochlormethyl-testosterone is also a banned anabolic steroid, widely sold under the brand name, Oral Turinabol. Both steroids are classified as “exogenous androgenic anabolic steroids” by WADA on their 2016 list of prohibited substances.
As per the rules and regulations of the International Rugby Board (IRB), also known as World Rugby, the only manner in which an athlete can survive a scandal of this magnitude is when he proves beyond reasonable doubt that the consumed banned steroids aimed at treating a legitimate medical condition, which could ease the punishment, otherwise a lengthy ban from the sport or even lengthy jail sentences are some of the other avenues WADA resorts to in such cases.
Speaking to New Era Sport yesterday, NRU acting CEO Elizma Theron confirmed the shocking revelations and said the player has been provisionally suspended from further participation in the ongoing U/20 World Rugby’s Trophy tournament in Zimbabwe, or in any other organised rugby activity until the matter is resolved.
The NRU was also expected to issue a press statement by late yesterday. “Further investigations are to follow and disciplinary actions will be taken by the NRU, all depending on the outcome of such investigations. The NRU views anti-doping offences in a very serious light and will continue to enforce zero-tolerance towards doping in rugby,” Theron said.