Elmir's drug test details kept from top AOC officials
Bianca Elmir's positive drug test was kept secret from senior Olympics officials. Photo: Vikky Wilkes
Australia's two most senior Olympic officials were kept in the dark about a positive drugs test by Canberra boxer Bianca Elmir which has killed off her hopes of going to London.
Even though the Australian Sports Anti Doping Authority was aware Elmir had possibly violated the drugs code on May 1, Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates and London chef de mission Nick Green were not aware until the story was broken online by The Canberra Times on Tuesday - two weeks later.
Elmir was provisionally suspended by Boxing Australia on May 7 and an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport was dismissed on May 9. Due to an ASADA confidentiality agreement, Coates and Green could not be informed.
ASADA yesterday said Elmir had tested positive to banned diuretics Furosemide and Amiloride in samples taken during the Australian boxing championships in Hobart on February 4, when she won her third national title.
The 51-kilogram flyweight said she took them to prevent swollen ankles on long flights, but acknowledges she should have read WADA's list of banned substances before taking them, her manager said.
The diuretics can be used as a masking agent or to assist in weight loss.
''It's an honest mistake … and it's a big lesson to be learned,'' manager Alex Beloperio said.
Elmir's coach Gary Hamilton says she was denied the chance to put a thorough case to CAS to prove she did not take the diuretics for performance-enhancing reasons.
Her appeal to CAS was heard on the night before she was to fly to China to compete in the world championships which doubles as an Olympic qualification tournament.
Hamilton said ASADA's submission was given to her solicitor one hour before the hearing.
''We're not denying the fact she's done something stupid and taken a prohibited substance - she did. But it wasn't for performance-enhancing reasons,'' Hamilton said.
''Our beef is more with the way it was handled … there was enough evidence to show she didn't take it for performance enhancing.
''She could have been given a reprimand … but she misses the Olympics.''
With the ban upheld, Elmir was ruled out of the world championships, leaving her with no chance of making it to London.
ASADA said it had followed all rules and procedures set out by the National Anti-Doping Scheme.
''After investigating the matter in accordance with the process set out in legislation, ASADA referred this matter to the independent Anti-Doping Rule Violation Panel (ADRVP),'' it said.
''On 1 May 2012, the ADRVP found there were possible anti-doping rule violations. The athlete was advised in writing of the ADRVP finding that same day. The correspondence advised the athlete of her appeal rights.
''Boxing Australia, after consulting with ASADA, provisionally suspended the athlete on 7 May 2012 to uphold the integrity of boxing, the world championships and the Australian Olympic Team.
''The athlete appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against the provisional suspension and CAS heard the appeal on 9 May 2012. The decision to uphold the provisional suspension was handed down on 10 May 2012.''
The first round of Elmir's 51kg weight class was held on May 12.
A devastated Elmir is being consoled by friends in Thailand.
Punishment can range from a reprimand to a two-year ban, which is what was handed to the last Australian who failed a doping test for the same substance as Elmir.
In 2009, NSW bodybuilder Scott Matthews tested positive to Furosemide at the International Natural Bodybuilding Association Sydney Natural Physique titles.