U.K. Anti-Doping allows seven suspended athletes to return to competition

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As more sporting organizations reform their approach to drug testing, U.K. Anti-Doping (UKAD) has announced it is retrospectively shortening the bans for athletes who are suspended due to recreational drug use, reports Inside the Games.

As of Jan. 1, 2021, U.K. athletes who test positive for substances like cannabis and cocaine while out-of-competition will face three-month suspensions rather than two-year bans. The suspension could be reduced to one month if the athlete completes a treatment program.The changes bring UKAD in line with the World Anti-Doping Agency’s rules.

UKAD chairman Trevor Pearce toldInside the Games that a three-month ban will only be applied to athletes who test positive while out-of-competition. “If an athlete can’t prove that the drug use was out-of-competition and unrelated to sports performance, they may receive up to a four-year ban,” Pearce said.

As for athletes currently suspended over the previous rules, their suspensions will be amended to reflect the changes.

Scottish runner Luke Traynor is one of seven athletes who will now be eligible to return to their sports earlier than anticipated.

Traynor, 27, was originally banned from competition for two years after testing positive for cocaine in May 2019, reports The Herald. In addition to the ban, 13 months of Traynor’s racing results were also overturned.

“I knew the code change was coming in on Jan. 1. But UKAD did not have to acknowledge it for past cases, so it’s a nice surprise. Time to move forward,” Traynor said.

In 2019, following the news of his suspension, Traynor issued a statement saying that his failed drug test had no relation to “sport or enhancing performance.”

“This happened as a one-off and in a purely social situation with a drug I should never had taken,” Traynor said.

According to a release from UKAD, the other athletes who are now eligible to return to competition are Lance Randall, Adam Hoskins, A.J. Roberts, Daniel Bridge and Conner Duthie. All of the athletes were previously facing two-year bans.

UKAD chief executive Nicole Sapstead said the new rules are not a “green light” for athletes to use drugs socially.

“Three months is still a notable ban from sport and covers all participation, including training, which will be valuable time lost for any athlete,” Sapstead said, adding that the organization will “come after athletes who continue to make the wrong choices.”

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