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Trinidad long jumper Gittens banned for unintentional doping lapse

Tyra Gittens, the Trinidad and Tobago long jumper who finished 10th in the Tokyo Olympics, was ruled ineligible for six months on Monday over a doping violation, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) said.

Gittens, who only turned professional last week, provided a sample that showed the presence of a prohibited substance: methylphenidate/ritalinic acid.

The 24-year-old blamed the presence of the substance on  medicine she takes for ADHD. But at the time the samples were taken, Gittens had allowed her Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) to expire.

The AIU ruled Gittens ineligible for six months from September 26, 2022. Any results in competition since June 26, 2022, also do not count.

The body set up by World Athletics to fight doping in the Olympics’ number one sport added that it “accepts that the athlete had not realised that her previous TUE had expired by the time” of the first sample, taken at the national Trinidad and Tobago championships on June 26, 2022.

“She was not advised that the TTO Sample was positive for methylphenidate, or that her TUE had expired for this purpose, until November 2022, after the sample collected from her at the World Championships on July 23, 2022,” it added.

The AIU “also accepts that the athlete had no information at the time of the (second) WA Sample that her TUE application was incomplete”.

“The AIU also accepts that the medication was used for legitimate medical reasons and the athlete did not intend to cheat. Accordingly, the AIU accepts that the violation was not ‘intentional’.”

The backdated period of ineligibility nevertheless sees her 19th-placed finish in the long jump at the world championships in Eugene scrapped, as well as her 11th place in the long jump and 14th in the high jump at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

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