Tennis Player Halep’s Doping Ban Cut From 4 Years to 9 Months

GENEVA — Former Wimbledon and French Open champion Simona Halep had her four-year doping ban cut to nine months by the top court for global sport on Tuesday, making the former world number one eligible to return to competition immediately. 

Halep was initially banned for four years for two separate anti-doping rule violations. But the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled that her suspension should be reduced to nine months, a period she has already served. 

“The CAS Panel has unanimously determined that the four-year period of ineligibility imposed by the ITF (International Tennis Federation) Independent Tribunal is to be reduced to a period of ineligibility of nine (9) months starting on 7 October 2022, which period expired on 6 July 2023,” CAS said in a statement. 

The 32-year-old Romanian was suspended in October 2022 after she tested positive for roxadustat – a banned drug that stimulates the production of red blood cells – at the U.S. Open that year. 

She was also charged with another doping offense last year due to irregularities in her athlete biological passport (ABP), a method designed to monitor different blood parameters over time to reveal potential doping. 

Halep had vigorously denied the charges against her. 

Halep blamed contaminated supplements for her positive test at the U.S. Open and accused the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) of charging her with an ABP violation after the group of experts who assessed her profile learned her identity. 

An independent tribunal accepted Halep’s argument that she had taken contaminated supplements but said the volume she ingested could not have resulted in the concentration of roxadustat found in her positive sample. 

However, the CAS Panel said that while Halep should have been more careful when using the supplement, she did not bear significant fault for the violation.  

Also, the ABP charge was dismissed on the basis that the sample given in late 2022 was shortly after surgery and that Halep had said she was not going to compete for the rest of that year

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