L'Equipe Strikes Again - This Time It's After Karatantcheva
Every now and then a tennis story comes out that completely floors me - this is one of them.
Bulgarian teenager Sesil Karatantcheva failed a doping test following her loss at the French Open, the French sports newspaper L'Equipe reported Tuesday.
Karatantcheva tested positive for nandrolone after her three-set loss to Russia's Elana Likhovtesa in the May 31 quarterfinals, L'Equipe reported, without citing sources. She was 15 at the time; she turned 16 in August.
L'Equipe also reported that Karatantcheva appeared last week before a panel of three judges appointed by the International Tennis Federation. The newspaper said she told the panel she was pregnant at the time of the test, but later suffered a miscarriage.
Karatantcheva told a Bulgarian news agency she was not informed of the test result and denied appearing before the panel.
"I am shocked," Karatantcheva told the agency. "I have not appeared before judges of the international federation."
I'm almost speechless - where to begin?
- First of all, L'Equipe is singlehandedly making a mockery of tennis' drug policy. The time lapse between a positive test and any action seems totally absurd when the entire world is notified of offending players through unofficial channels months before. They're going to get around to dealing with the Mariano Puerta situation publicly...when? At this rate I'm expecting him to show up at the Australian Open with the issue still unresolved.
- What was in the water at the French Open? It's just bizarre that all of these positive tests took place in Paris but nothing major occurred at any of the other Grand Slams.
- How does a 15-year-old test positive for nandrolone? Total accident? Someone on her team gave it to her? It's not like a 15-year-old would question a supplement a member of her official team told her to take. She decided on her own to take something to get stronger and neglected to mention it to her team and have them investigate what was in it? Or perhaps the whole report of a positive test is nonsense.
- What's the morality on a newspaper publishing unattributed statements that a 15-year-old was pregnant?!!! At any time!!!
- Whoever was in charge of hiring the lab that did the French Open tests had better fire them for next year. This many major leaks is either malice or total incompetence.
- A twisted look at the bright side of things - if she's suspended for two years she'll only be 18 when she returns.
- This may quite possibly be the first pregnancy defense for a positive nandrolone test. We'll have to wait for the pharmocologists to weigh in the validity of this one.
- At 15, tell an international panel of adults you were pregnant? Or just pray to avoid a 2-year suspension by some other means?
Small Update: Various articles are reporting that a pregnancy test was done on Karatantcheva's French Open sample and came out negative.