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Saudi Arabian distance runner Mohammed Yousef Al-Asiri tested positive for banned performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) during the Hangzhou Asian Games.

A provisional suspension has been issued to Al-Asiri by the International Testing Agency (ITA). The Olympic Council of Asia also claim to have suspended him

The ITA revealed that Al-Asiri returned an adverse analytical finding for darbepoetin, a form of the blood booster erythropoietin (EPO), which is on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned list.

The sample was taken by the ITA during an out-of-competition anti-doping test carried out on September 26, 2022, which was three days after the Games began.

Al-Asiri was to race the 10,000-metre and 5000m events last Saturday, September 30 and October 4, respectively, but did not participate.

The 34-year-old was also originally down to line up in today’s men’s 5,000m final before the ITA’s announcement.

The ITA said that Al-Asiri had been informed of the case and had the right to request the analysis of the B sample.

The 34-year-old owns a best over 5000m of 13:48.16 and 10,000m of 30:29.76 both set in 2023.

The athlete has been informed of the case and has been provisionally suspended with immediate effect. He has the right to request the analysis of the B-sample.

The matter will thereafter be referred to the Anti-Doping Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS ADD) for adjudication under the OCA anti-doping rules.

Darbepoetin is a medicine used to treat low red blood cell counts due to chronic kidney disease or chemotherapy. It is given by injection into a vein or under the skin.

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