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Drugged By A Kiss: Shawn Barber Declared Not Guilty Of Cocaine Ingestion

Despite being tested positive for cocaine Shawn Barber, Canadian world champion pole vaulter is allowed to compete at the Rio Olympic Games. This was stated in a news report published by Reuters recently. Athletics Canada defended their decision to allow Barber to compete and said that it was a right one.

Shawn Barber
Image Courtesy: indianexpress.com

Canadian world champion pole vaulter Shawn Barber was at the Rio Olympics despite earlier testing positive for cocaine but the decision to allow him to compete was the right one, Athletics Canada said on Thursday.

The ruling of The Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada (SDRCC) which was released on Thursday said that Shawn Barber inadvertently consumed cocaine days before the Canadian Olympic trials in July.

Just a day after the consumption of the banned substance Barber won the national title and set a Canadian record. The Canadian who was facing an imminent two-year ban by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES), got a breather when an independent arbitrator ruled that he had not faulted or violated anti-doping rules.

This decision by the independent arbitrator was further reviewed by The International Association of Athletics Federations and World Anti-Doping Agency. They eventually decided to turn down their right to appeal.

Paul Greene, who is from The International Association of Athletics Federations and World Anti-Doping Agency, said that the case of Barber taking the banned substance seemed to have been unintentional. He added, “You have inadvertent ingestion of cocaine that is passed to an athlete by way of kissing which is exactly what happened.”

Shawn Barber is considered as one of the ace pole vaulters of Canada. He is also regarded as one of the best bets for Canada to win a gold medal in the Rio Olympics. However, he didn’t live up to expectations and finished tenth.

Barber’s case was heard on August 5th, the day the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympics took place. The subsequent ruling was given on August 11th. The pole vaulter insisted that the ruling didn’t bear a negative impact on his performances in the Rio Olympic Games.

Barber said that it was quite difficult for him to move into the Olympics after such controversy but ultimately everything went off well.

In its ruling, SDRCC stated that the evidence before them reflected that Barber did not “know or suspect” and could not have reasonably known or suspected” that he exposed himself to the risk of ingesting a banned substance by kissing.

Paul Melia, who is the President of Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport said that the pole vaulter wanted his case to be heard by an independent arbitrator and they allowed it. Melia said the independent arbitrator listened to all the evidence very carefully and ruled that the Canadian athlete acted with extreme caution and therefore no fault lies on him. Melia said that following this ruling the period of ineligibility which was imposed recently on him was immediately lifted.

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