Russian athletes will now have to wait a little longer for a celebratory brew after some competitions.
The country’s anti-doping agency will prohibit athletes from downing a beer or other “soft-alcoholic beverages” before giving a urine sample after events, according to an announcement in Russian state news agency Tass.
It was previously common for athletes, particularly in track and field, to use beer as a diuretic to provide a faster urine sample, according to Margarita Pakhnotskaya, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency’s deputy director general.
But the drink also made some athletes “aggressive,” she told the Associated Press, and sometimes interfered with sample collection.
“It is not very good for athletes’ behavior at doping control, politeness and following the rules,” she said. “They’d be rude, a bit aggressive.”
Athletes will now have to stick to “large quantities of water” to help produce post-event samples, she told the AP.
Those caught violating the policy will first receive a warning then “a tougher punishment may follow” for each subsequent violation, she said.
The World Anti-Doping Agency declared the Russian Anti-Doping Agency noncompliant in 2015 after an investigation revealed a widespread state-sponsored campaign abusing performance enhancing drugs. It led the International Olympic Commission to bar 47 Russian athletes from competing in the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.
The Russian athletes allowed to compete did so under the Olympic flag and represented “Olympic Athletes from Russia” rather than the country’s national team. The Russian flag was not officially flow at the Games and the Olympic anthem played whenever a Russian athlete won a gold medal.
This beer ban comes six months after WADA reinstated the Russian Anti-Doping Agency as compliant, a controversial decision, but a move that granted the international clean sport body access to Russian testing data and suspicious samples.
“We lost our way for a while. Now we can continue our work,” RUSADA director general Yuri Ganus said at the time (via the Sydney Morning Herald). “Congratulations to athletes, managers and everyone supporting our sport.”
The new regulations on alcohol consumption, Pakhnotskaya told Tass, are part of that effort.
“Maintaining a firm stance on clean and healthy sports,” she said, “we cannot brush something aside like a ban on the consumption of alcohol during doping test procedures.”
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