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Asiad gold to stay with PH despite Brownlee dope test

The Asian Games basketball gold medal will stay with the Philippines even as naturalized player Justin Brownlee, who tested positive for a banned substance, faces a two-year suspension if he fails the confirmatory doping test.

“The gold remains with us,” Philippine Olympic Committee president Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino said on Friday, moments after receiving the notice of Brownlee’s failed doping test.

Brownlee, the most important figure in Gilas Pilipinas’ conquest of the men’s basketball event at the recent Hangzhou Games in China, tested for a banned substance as indicated in the report by the International Testing Agency (ITA).

ITA, which was commissioned by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) to handle the dope testing for the biennial meet, said Brownlee has returned an Adverse Analytical Finding for Carboxy-THC, a specified prohibited substance, according to the Prohibited List of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Brownlee has until October 19 to contest the result of his A Sample through appropriate procedures set by the WADA, ITA, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Tolentino, however, assured Filipinos that the gold medal, won by Gilas over Jordan in the finals, will not be forfeited. It would only be stripped of the gold if two of Brownlee’s teammates also test positive for doping. (See full story online at manilastandard.net)

He cited Article 11.2 of the Anti-Doping Rule of the International Olympic Committee under “Consequences for Team Sports.”

It states that if more than two members of a team are found to have committed an anti-doping rule violation, the CAS [Court of Arbitration for Sport] Anti-Doping Division may impose an appropriate sanction on the team.

Tolentino said that Brownlee’s teammates have also been tested as well as their final opponent Jordan, which also had one player failing the test.

“All Brownlee needs is to prove his innocence in contesting the result if he allows testing his B Sample,” Tolentino added.

Brownlee was the second athlete on Team Philippines in Hangzhou to fail a doping test.

Mountain bike cycling athlete Ariana Evangelista also tested positive for a banned substance in her urine following a random test prior to the competition.

Gilas Pilipinas forward Justin Brownlee

The sanctions range from a loss of points to disqualification from a competition, event, or the Olympic Games, or other sanction as provided in the applicable rules of the relevant International Federation, in this case FIBA or the International Basketball Federation.

This is in addition to any consequences imposed upon the individual athletes committing the anti-doping rule violation, the IOC rule added.

The worst thing that could happen is Brownlee getting suspended if he fails another test of his B sample.

Since the basketball competitions in the Asian Games, however, are not organized by FIBA, it could mean Brownlee won’t be allowed to compete in OCA-organized meets like the Asian Games, Beach Games, Indoor and Martial Arts Games, Winter Games, and Youth Games.

It is not clear, however, if the FIBA will adopt the OCA sanctions on athletes who fail doping tests. If so, Brownlee might be suspended from all FIBA-sanctioned tournaments and all other professional leagues, including the professional Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), where he plays as a Ginebra import.

That was what happened to Kiefer Ravena, who was suspended by FIBA for 18 months for a failed drug test following a Gilas Pilipinas game against Japan in Manila in February 2018.

It turned out that Ravena had taken a pre-workout drink that contained the prohibited substance.

In an interview with ONE Sports, Tolentino said the Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas is checking on Brownlee’s medication after a minor operation that removed bone spurs from his foot.

“‘Yun na ang pinag-uusapan. ‘Yung sabi ng SBP na Brownlee is in medication before pa kaya ‘di nakalaro ng FIBA World Cup dahil injured, may medication siya. Doon tine-trace kung baka sa medication kung may component,” Tolentino told ONE Sports.

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