Triple-whammy for doped-up player
NEWS: An English club player has been slapped with a four-year, after testing positive with three different metabolites in his system.
Stephen Hihetah of Hull RUFC has been banned from all sport for four years – from 12 June 2019 until 11 June 2023.
Hihetah provided a urine sample following a training session on February 21, which returned an adverse analytical finding for the prohibited substances Stanozolol metabolites, Metandienone metabolite and Tamoxifen metabolite.
Hihetah was charged with a breach of World Rugby regulation 21.2.1: “Presence of a prohibited substance or its metabolites or markers in a player’s sample.”
“All players are subject to the anti-doping rules which are in place to protect players and the integrity of our sport,” Rugby Football Union anti-doping and illicit drugs programme manager Stephen Watkins said.
The player’s case was that he travelled to London on 16 December 2018 and returned to Hull on 3 January 2019.
During that time, he trained at Genesis Gym Acton together with a friend on approximately six occasions, assuming this to be twice weekly for the three weeks he was in London.
Before most of these sessions began, he took a pre-workout drink that his friend had prepared. The player believed that the source of his positive test result was the pre-workout drink, because his friend had subsequently told him that it contained a powder supplied to him by a fellow weight lifter, and that said weightlifter had later told his friend that the powder he provided contained substances that, if tested, would lead to a failed anti-doping test.
The friend in question gave testimony, saying it was he who inadvertently spiked Hihetah’s pre-workout.
“During the Christmas period 2018 Stephen and I trained together numerous times. Stephen and I regularly train together when he is back in London. During the time frame, I provided him with an old ‘home made’ pre work out powder. The pre-workout contained caffeine for energy, some BCAA for endurance and fatigue and the pre-mix supplement that was given to me from a gym member for increased strength. This is a workout powder I have personally taken in the past and continued to use after Stephen went back up north.
“I recently in passing spoke to the lifter at Genesis Gym, regarding the pre-mix supplement he had given me. He said, [within the context of our conversation regarding Stephen’s drug test] without disclosing the exact ingredients, that if I was to be tested I or he would fail.
“This was new news to me and in turn I informed Stephen, I was disgusted and appalled by this information.”