Marijuana stays on World Anti-Doping Agency banned substances list

WADA World Anti-Doping Agency
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Marijuana use will remain banned at sports events after the World Anti-Doping Agency on Friday resisted calls to change its status on the list of prohibited substances.

The agency was asked to review the status of THC — the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis — after the case of U.S. sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson, who did not go to the Tokyo Olympics last year. She served a one-month ban after testing positive at the Olympic Trials, where she won the 100m. The sprinter said she had smoked marijuana as a way of coping with her mother’s death.

In a separate decision, the opiate tramadol will now be banned when athletes are competing from January 2024, the WADA executive committee decided at a meeting in Sydney.

Athletes who use cannabis were consulted by WADA-appointed experts whose conclusions included that it was “against the spirit of sport,” the agency said.

Positive tests for THC at races and events, though not in training, can therefore continue to trigger bans as short as one month.

The debate “is not straightforward,” WADA director general Olivier Niggli acknowledged Friday.

“WADA is also mindful that the few requests for THC’s removal from the Prohibited List are not supported by the experts’ thorough review,” he said. “We are also conscious that the laws of many countries — as well as broad international regulatory laws and policies — support maintaining cannabis on the List at this time.”

WADA also noted the high threshold level to register a positive test for THC which is “consistent with a significantly impaired athlete or a frequent user.”

Tramadol has been an issue in cycling which outlawed its use at races starting in 2019.

After the Tour de France in July, Nairo Quintana was disqualified from sixth place when two samples showed traces of the synthetic painkiller. He was not banned and is challenging his disqualification at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

“Tramadol abuse, with its dose-dependent risks of physical dependence, opiate addiction and overdoses in the general population, is of concern and has led to it being a controlled drug in many countries,” WADA said.

The in-competition ban will be enforced in January 2024 giving time to educate athletes and team doctors and “address the safe use of tramadol for clinical purposes,” WADA said.

The International Cycling Union’s medical rules state “commonly reported adverse side effects of tramadol are dizziness, drowsiness and loss of attention, which are incompatible with competitive cycling and endanger other competitors.”

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Paris 2024 Olympic marathon route unveiled

Paris 2024 Olympic Marathon
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The 2024 Olympic marathon route will take runners from Paris to Versailles and back.

The route announcement was made on the 233rd anniversary of one of the early, significant events of the French Revolution: the Women’s March on Versailles — “to pay tribute to the thousands of women who started their march at city hall to Versailles to take up their grievances to the king and ask for bread,” Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet said.

Last December, organizers announced the marathons will start at Hôtel de Ville (city hall, opposite Notre-Dame off the Seine River) and end at Les Invalides, a complex of museums and monuments one mile southeast of the Eiffel Tower.

On Wednesday, the rest of the route was unveiled — traversing the banks of the Seine west to the Palace of Versailles and then back east, passing the Eiffel Tower before the finish.

The men’s and women’s marathons will be on the last two days of the Games at 8 a.m. local time (2 a.m. ET). It will be the first time that the women’s marathon is held on the last day of the Games after the men’s marathon traditionally occupied that slot.

A mass public marathon will also be held on the Olympic marathon route. The date has not been announced.

The full list of highlights among the marathon course:

• Hôtel de ville de Paris (start)
• Bourse de commerce
• Palais Brongniart
• Opéra Garnier
• Place Vendôme
• Jardin des Tuileries
• The Louvre
• Place de la Concorde
• The bridges of Paris
(Pont de l’Alma; Alexandre III;
Iéna; and more)
• Grand Palais
• Palais de Tokyo
• Jardins du Trocadéro
• Maison de la Radio
• Manufacture et Musées
nationaux de Sèvres
• Forêt domaniale
des Fausses-Reposes
• Monuments Pershing –
Lafayette
• Château de Versailles
• Forêt domaniale de Meudon
• Parc André Citroën
• Eiffel Tower
• Musée Rodin
• Esplanade des Invalides (finish)

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International Boxing Association lifts ban on Russia, Belarus

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The International Boxing Association (IBA) lifted its ban on amateur boxers from Russia and Belarus over the war in Ukraine that had been in place since early March.

“The IBA strongly believes that politics shouldn’t have any influence on sports,” the federation said in a press release. “Hence, all athletes should be given equal conditions.”

Most international sports federations banned athletes from Russia and Belarus indefinitely seven months ago, acting after an IOC recommendation. It is believed that the IBA is the first international federation in an Olympic sport to lift its ban.

The IOC has not officially changed its recommendation from last winter to exclude Russia and Belarus athletes “to protect the integrity of the events and the safety of the other participants.”

Last week, IOC President Thomas Bach said in an interview with an Italian newspaper that Russian athletes who do not endorse their country’s war in Ukraine could at some point be accepted back into international sports, competing under a neutral flag.

IBA, in lifting its ban, will also allow Russia and Belarus flags and national anthems.

“The time has now come to allow all the rest of the athletes of Russia and Belarus to participate in all the official competitions of their sports representing their countries,” IBA President Umar Kremlev, a Russian, said in a press release last week. “Both the IOC and the International Federations must protect all athletes, and there should be no discrimination based on nationality. It is the duty of all of us to keep sports and athletes away from politics.”

In 2019, the IOC stripped the IBA — then known as AIBA — of its Olympic recognition following an inquiry committee report into finance, governance, refereeing and judging. The IOC ran the Tokyo Olympic boxing competition.

The IBA will not run qualifying events for the 2024 Paris Games, but it does still hold world championships, the next being a men’s event in Uzbekistan next year.

Boxing, introduced on the Olympic program in 1904, was not included on the initial program for the 2028 Los Angeles Games but can still be added. The IBA must address concerns “around its governance, its financial transparency and sustainability and the integrity of its refereeing and judging processes,” Bach said last December.

On Sept. 23, the IBA suspended Ukraine’s boxing federation, citing “government interference.” Ukraine boxers are still allowed to compete with their flag and anthem.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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