Franco-German cross-country skier Sara Benfares suspended for 5 years for doping

At just 22 years old, the Franco-German Sara Benfares ended her career and should therefore not appeal this Suspension. The latter follows positive anti-doping tests carried out on the half-distance runner between the end of September 2023 and mid-January 2024. The announcement had the effect of a bomb in the world of athletics. The National Anti-Doping Agency made its decision this Thursday, April 18. She decided to suspend for five years the Franco-German athlete Sara Benfares, running under the colors of Germany. The verdict is not yet in for her little sister, Sofia, who also tested positive.

Positive for testosterone, clenbuterol and EPO

This heavy sentence is justified by aggravating circumstances. A total of five different non-specific substances were detected in three samples from Sara Benfares. “It can therefore be assumed that these substances will continue to be taken and used for a certain period of time,” says the supervisory body. This is why the ban went beyond the usual four-year period. The substances mentioned include testosterone, clenbuterol and the blood doping agent EPO.

Sara Benfares now has 20 days to request that disciplinary proceedings be initiated with the German sports arbitration court and suspend her sanction. The criminal investigation by the Saarbrücken public prosecutor’s office is not affected by the sports law decision and is still pending, NADA said.

Bone disease and multiple stress fractures

After the positive sample was revealed, Sara’s father, Samir Benfares, defended his daughter, explaining that she was suffering from bone cancer and that she should not wait to take medication. ’emergency. The former French international over 1,500m also announced the end of his daughter’s career. Their lawyer recently said that Sara Benfares suffered from a widespread bone disease for which neither doctors nor her father had a plausible explanation.

The runner’s career was actually on hold due to the multiple stress fractures she suffered over the past year, 10 in total, her father said. His last real competition dates back to December 2022 at the Corrida de Houilles, with a personal best of 31′46′’. Then in 2023, only two competitions: the Interclubs over 3,000 m for CA Montreuil, her club chaired by her father, Samir, and at the beginning of December, the Escalade race in Switzerland, where she finished 6th.

In the wake of her big sister, Sofia Benfares (19), the youngest in the family had also tested positive for EPO. No decision has yet been taken regarding him. Following the positive results, both athletes had been expelled from LC Rehlingen, their club, which also revoked the membership of her older sister Selma.


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