Teenager, Issamade Asinga, from Suriname has been banned by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) for four years for an anti-doping rule violation.

Asinga was born in Atlanta, and grew up in Zambia, where his mother Ngozi Mwanamwambwa was born. His father is former track and field athlete Tommy Asinga. The senior Asinga continues to hold the Surinamese national records for 400m, 800m and 1500m, and competed at three Olympic Games, Seoul 1988, Barcelona 1992, and Atlanta 1996.

From the AIU press release

“Presence of a Prohibited Substance or its Metabolites or Markers in an Athlete’s Sample”. Asinga was provisionally suspended by the AIU last August after testing positive for metabolites of GW1516 in an out-of-competition test on 18 July.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has listed GW1516 as a Prohibited Substance under the category S4 – Hormone and Metabolic Modulators – and it is a non-specified substance which is prohibited at all times. GW1516 modifies how the body metabolises fat. It was originally synthesised and evaluated for the treatment of obesity, diabetes and other disorders caused by metabolic problems but is now not approved for human use.  WADA has advised of its health risks for athletes.

Asinga, a US resident, argued the positive test resulted from a contaminated product, Gatorade Recovery Gummies for Athletes, which he was given at a ceremony in the USA on 10 July 2023 after winning the Gatorade National Boys Track and Field Player-of-the-Year. However, the Disciplinary Tribunal said Asinga “did not succeed in establishing, by a balance of probability, that the Gatorade Recovery Gummies were the source of the GW1516 metabolites detected in his Sample of 18 July 2023.” 

Asinga will have all competitive results since 18 July 2023 disqualified, while also surrendering all titles and prizes. This includes his double-sprint victories at last year’s South American Outdoor Championships in Sao Paulo, Brazil. On 28 July 2023, he ran a record-breaking 9.89 seconds in the 100-metre final. Except for his ADRV, this performance would have eclipsed Botswana’s Letsile Tebogo’s mark of 9.91 seconds set at the World Under-20 Championships in Cali in 2022 and would have broken the 35-year-old South American 100-metre mark of 10 seconds set by Robson da Silva. Two days later, Asinga also won the 200-metre crown.

“This decision upholds an important principle in cases where contamination is argued. The requirement for the athlete to show how the Prohibited Substance got into their system must be enforced strictly. This proof must not be based on speculation, but on specific, persuasive and objective evidence. All explanations based on contamination must be thoroughly scrutinised and not just blindly accepted. This strict requirement is essential to protect clean athletes and ensure a level playing field,” stressed AIU Chair David Howman.

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