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Thursday, 21 October 2010

Haemorrhoids cream leads to French swimmer's doping suspension

French swimmer Frédérick Bousquet has been banned from competition for two months.

Frédérick Bousquet, image - from Wikipedia, author - Fred_Bousquet.jpg: myuzeme, derivative work: Philipmj24 (talk)

On Wednesday, the reigning European 50-metres freestyle champion revealed that he has been suspended for two months after testing positive for a banned substance during a meeting in Canet-en-Roussillon in southern France in June.

On the face of it you might be thinking, "Oh here we go again, another sportsman trying to cheat his way to success".

But even though Bousquet admits he was entirely to blame for testing positive, it was down to negligence and not an attempt to hoodwink the sport's doping controls.

You see the cause of Bousquet's suspension was his use of an ointment to treat his haemorrhoids, and unfortunately for him, it contained the banned substance heptaminol.

"I've suffered from this condition for the past eight years," he said in an interview with the sports daily "L'Equipe".

"The treatment I normally use doesn't contain the banned substance," he continued.

"But just before the meeting I suffered another attack and as I didn't have any medicine with me I went to the local chemist and bought a product which can be purchased without prescription...and the rest of the story is history."

Although Bousquet's ban came into effect last month, he has apparently tried to keep a low profile in the hope that his ban would be kept confidential and that the media would not make a huge story out of it.

Now it's out in the open though, Bousquet says he's not going to try to deny what happened.

"I have no extenuating circumstances," he admitted.

"I deserve this suspension," he added. "I should have read the instructions (on the packaging)."

As the French website Le Post points out, it's hardly the first time (and doubtless will not be the last) that a high-performance athlete has resorted to what some might consider "unusual" explanations as to how he or she managed to test positive for drugs.

The suspension, handed down by the anti-doping commission of the the Fédération Française de Natation (French Swimming Federation, FFN) began on September 20, but as it only lasts for two months, Bousquet will be eligible to compete at the French championships in December.


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