Blake Leeper ban Upheld by CAS

Photo: Running Competitor

Blake Leeper has failed in his attempt to compete at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games after his suspension was upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Friday. Leeper’s suspension was originally handed down by the American Arbitration Association (AAA) in 2015.

After testing positive for benzoylecgonine, an element of Cocaine, after a test at the US Paralympic Track & Field National Championships. The substance falls under the stimulants category of the anti-doping policy and is banned in competition (but not outside of competition).

The hearing was staged by the AAA, who made the decision to suspend Leeper for two years, and back dated that suspension to the day of the test. Normally an athlete is suspended from the day of notification of an anomaly, but even with that date change, a two year suspension ruled Leeper out of the Rio Paralympic Games.

Following that hearing Leeper and the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) reached a settlement that reduced Leeper’s ban to just one year, due to mitigating circumstances. But the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) declared that a one-year suspension did not meet the standards of the IPC Anti-Doping Code, and as such upheld the original two year suspension, sending Leeper’s case to the CAS.

In the interim the IPC agreed to allow Leeper to compete in events after that one-year ban had ended. This allowed Leeper to remain fit for competition in Rio should his appeal to CAS have been upheld.

In the CAS decision they have stated that the IPC has no obligation to honor the settlement with USADA. This means the two year band is upheld, and any results after June 20th, when the one year ban ran out, are now void.



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