• Simona Halep Wins Doping Appeal And Is Free To Return To Tennis

    March 7, 2024
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    Simona Halep, Source

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    Romanian tennis player Simona Halep will be able to return to competitions, as her suspension has been reduced from four years to nine months by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). According to the verdict in Lausanne, the suspension period has already expired on July 6, 2023.

    The CAS press release from March 5th 2024 states that:

    The CAS Panel has unanimously determined that the four-year period of ineligibility imposed by the ITF 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. As that period expired before the appeal procedures were even lodged with the CAS, the CAS Panel has determined it appropriate to issue the operative part of the Arbitral Award as soon as practicable, together with a comprehensive media release.

    The CAS Panel has also ordered the disqualification of all competitive results achieved by Ms. Halep from 29 August 2022 (the date of her positive sample) to 7 October 2022, including forfeiture of any medals, titles, ranking points, and prize money. Therefore, the appeal filed by the ITIA is dismissed, and the appeal filed by Simona Halep is partially upheld (her request to backdate the start of the suspension on 29 August 2022 is dismissed).

    Although the CAS panel found that Simona Halep had a certain level of fault or negligence for her violations, as she did not exercise sufficient caution when using the Keto MCT supplement, it concluded that she had no significant responsibility, fault, or significant negligence, as stated in the CAS press release.

    “In the end, the truth has prevailed”

    "Throughout this long and challenging process, I have maintained my belief that the truth will ultimately come to light, and a fair decision will be reached, as I have always been a clean athlete.

    My faith in this process has been tested by the scandalous accusations brought against me and the seemingly unlimited resources that have been aligned against me.

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    But, in the end, the truth has prevailed, even if it took much longer than I would have wished. I would like to thank my lawyers who have stood by me and believed in me from the beginning, and, more importantly, I want to express my gratitude to my sponsors, fans, and fellow competitors who have stood by me throughout this long and challenging process.

    I can't wait to return," stated Simona Halep for Euronews.

    What started it

    Halep often sipped from a small bottle at her North American matches, triggering doping suspicions. She failed two drug tests, testing positive for Roxadustat, a substance that aids endurance by boosting red blood cell production. The orally administered drug, sold as Evrenzo, works by inhibiting enzymes and stimulating hemoglobin/red blood cell development from within the body.

    Before Flushing Meadows, Halep experienced some issues in the US Open Series. She withdrew from the tournament in Washington, and in Cincinnati, she faced several medical problems. On multiple occasions, she requested on-court physiotherapy intervention, leading many to speculate that the assistance she received from them might be connected to the positive test result in the last Grand Slam tournament of the year.

    It is presumed that someone from her staff might have guided her towards this medication, unaware that it was blacklisted. In theory, at such a high level, such mistakes should not occur, but human errors can arise even in the most unexpected circumstances.

    Among countless messages of support for the tennis player, there is room for scandal

    On July 13, 2019, Simona Halep defeated Serena Williams in the final of the Wimbledon tournament. It was a significant blow for the American athlete. With a victory, Williams would have reached 24 Grand Slam titles, equaling Margaret Court's record for the most Grand Slam victories by a female tennis player in history.

    In a message posted shortly after the first verdict in Simona Halep's case, Serena Williams wrote on X: "8 is a better number." Tennis fans speculated that Williams was referring to the final she lost to Halep. For her, it would have been her 8th title in Wimbledon. Not only that, but Serena Williams liked the message posted a few minutes earlier by Nicole Gibbs, in which Halep was directly accused of cheating.

    Simona Halep's supporters did not forget Serena's post and returned to it to leave some pieces of their minds, expressing their disapproval of the comment.



    Diana Livesay

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