tested positive for a stimulant, Mouhamadou Fall pleads contamination

The French sprinter defended his case before the sanctions committee of the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) in Paris.

Tested positive last July for a stimulant, French sprinter Mouhamadou Fall pleaded accidental contamination via food supplements on Wednesday before the sanctions committee of the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) in Paris.

Fall tested positive for heptaminol on July 28, 2023 during the French Athletics Championships, the day of his 100m coronation. This control raises the possibility of a two-year sanction for this banned substance, which would ruin the Olympic hopes of the sprinter, member of the 4x100m relay team, sixth at the Budapest World Championships in 2023.

Wearing a white shirt and represented by his three master lawyers Christophe Ayela, Vincent Champetier and Romain Vanni, the 32-year-old sprinter presented a report to the AFLD according to which this abnormal analytical result (AAR) was due to contamination by a of the six food supplements he was consuming at the time of the check.

“One of the products used as a food supplement is contaminated with octodrine, without any mention of the presence of this substance,” explained Professor Jean-Claude Alvarez, author of the report, by videoconference. However, octodrine, found in sample B and also a banned substance, metabolizes in the body in the form of heptaminol.

“These are low doses, but we have a lot of food supplements that are contaminated,” added Professor Alvarez, citing a study estimating that 25 to 30% of food supplements could be contaminated.

A test on a volunteer witness made it possible to find concentrations of heptaminol equivalent to that of Mr. Fall, doses “without any pharmacological effect for the athlete”, he insisted.

Antoine Marcelaud, the representative of the AFLD college, which initiated the proceedings, considered that Mr. Fall should have “shown more vigilance, given his level and his experience”. Without contesting the contamination theory, he requested a 15-month suspension, instead of the two years incurred.

“With all the precautions I took, it was impossible for me to be in this kind of situation,” Mr. Fall defended. The decision will not be known for several weeks.

Mouhamadou Fall is also engaged in another procedure with the AFLD, which accuses him of three breaches of his anti-doping localization obligations in 2022. After an acquittal at first instance, the AFLD filed an appeal before the Council of State, which is still in progress.


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