Doping and lawn bowls, an unlikely pairing

Posted in Regulations

On Saturday, 24 June 2017, the South Africa Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) descended upon the South African Mixed Pairs Lawn Bowls National Championship to conduct random testing as part of its core focus of tackling doping in South African sports.

On the day in question, one of the athletes tested was Mrs Cheryl Ann Edelkraut (Mrs Edelkraut), the eventual winner and National Champion on the day. 

On 18 July 2017, following her gold medal winning performance, the Anti-Doping Laboratory in Ghent, Belgium, reported the presence of three prohibited substances in the urine sample of Mrs Edelkraut. The substances identified were the diuretics Hydrochlorothiazide and Chlorothiazide, as well as the stimulant, Cathine.  Mrs Edelkraut was notified of the adverse analytical findings on 8 August 2017.

SAIDS further notified Mrs Edelkraut on 8 August 2017 that after consultation with the SAIDS Doping Control Review Commission she could apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE).  A TUE is a process where athletes can apply to use a prohibited medication to treat a legitimate medical condition. A TUE is an exemption that allows an athlete to use, for therapeutic purposes only, an otherwise prohibited substance.

On 11 August 2017, Mrs Edelkraut applied for a retroactive TUE. The following submissions were made by Mrs Edelkraut in her application:

  • Her medical doctor, prescribed Enap-Co to control her high blood pressure and they were both unaware that the medication was on the prohibited list and contained prohibited substances;
  • She is 60 years old and plays bowls for recreational purposes; and
  • She has been using the medication since 2004 and does not dispute taking it.

SAIDS informed Mrs Edelkraut on 7 September 2017 that her TUE application did not meet the SAIDS and World Anti-Doping Agency approval criteria for the above-mentioned substances and was therefore denied. Mrs Edelkraut filed a notice of appeal on 20 September 2017, which she later withdrew.

On 6 November 2017, Mrs Edelkraut, the 60 year old social lawn bowler, who by SAIDS’s own admission only qualified for the South African National Championship through coincidence, was formally charged for doping.

Mrs Edelkraut’s doping hearing convened on 23 November 2017, at the Rosebank Holiday Inn Express, Johannesburg. After due consideration of the specific facts of the case, the Independent Doping Hearing Panel, which included a medical doctor and professor found Mrs Edelkraut guilty of an Anti-Doping Rule violation in terms of Article 2.1 of the 2017 Anti-Doping Rules of SAIDS.  Following the guilty finding, Mrs Edelkraut was declared ineligible for a period of four months and had to forfeit the results, medals and prizes obtained in the South African Mixed Pairs Championship.

At the time of writing, it was not known whether, after serving her four months ineligibility period, Mrs Edelkraut returned to lawn bowls.

A copy of the Anti-Doping Tribunal’s findings and sanctions against Mrs Edelkraut can be found here.

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