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UFV wrestler handed four-year doping ban for using East German-era steroid

Urine specimens in a lab in a file photo. A UFV wrestler has been banned for taking an old banned steroid, Oral Turinabol.
Urine specimens in a lab in a file photo. A UFV wrestler has been banned for taking an old banned steroid, Oral Turinabol.

A University of Fraser Valley wrestler has been banned from competition after testing positive for a very old performance-enhancing drug.

The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport announced last week that Surrey’s Jasonpreet Bains tested positive for dehydrochlormethyltestosterone, better known as Oral Turinabol.

According to the CCES, a urine sample taken from Bains on Feb. 21 — during the U Sports national wrestling championships — tested positive for the banned substance.

Presented with the positive test, Bains, who finished second in the men’s 100 kg weight class, admitted he’d taken the banned substance, the CCES said.

Following a hearing with an arbitrator, he was handed a four-year ban, running through April 2, 2024. He is banned from participating — even training with teammates — in any sport covered by the Canadian anti-doping program until then.

Turinabol is the drug developed in the 1960s by an East German lab. It was the drug that drove the East German sports machine to great success in Olympic competition in the 1970s and ’80s, before the fall of communism in Eastern Europe.

It was different from other anabolic steroids, for instance, in that it didn’t promote breast development in male athletes. It hasn’t been produced commercially since the 1990s and is apparently only produced in black-market labs .

Given how ancient it is and how easy it is to test for, it’s a surprise that any modern athlete would take the substance. A number of weightlifters have tested positive in recent years and, more prominently for North Americans, a number of Major League Baseball players have tested positive too.

An American anti-doping expert told the New York Times in 2016 that the drug was easy to obtain through online sources. Dr. Don Catlin said he had seen it listed as an ingredient in at least one nutritional supplement and speculated it was being added to other products but not being listed in the ingredients.

“I suspect somebody got a big supply of it somewhere and has been distributing it among friends and neighbours,” Catlin told the Times. “One guy gets it and feels it’s working and tells all his buddies. Next thing you know, you’ve got a mini-epidemic.”

CCES officials have warned Canadian athletes in the past to avoid taking supplements because of a lack of oversight of such products.

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