In a startling turn of events at the Hangzhou, China Asian Games, Justin Brownlee, a prominent member of the Philippine men’s basketball team, has been found to have failed a doping test, as confirmed by the International Testing Agency (ITA) on Friday night.
The ITA, entrusted by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), autonomously manages facets of the anti-doping protocol at the Asian Games, including the handling of results.
The ITA collected Brownlee’s sample during an in-competition anti-doping screening on Oct. 7, a day after the Philippines clinched a historic 70-60 victory over Jordan in the gold-medal match.
This triumph marked the country’s first Asiad basketball gold in 61 years.
The ITA relayed in an official statement on their website ita.sport, “The Sample Collection Authority was the China Anti-Doping Agency.”
They further disclosed, “A sample collected from basketball player Justin Brownlee from the Philippines has returned an Adverse Analytical Finding for Carboxy-THC, a specified Prohibited Substance, according to the Prohibited List of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).”
“The athlete has been apprised of the situation. He retains the right to request the analysis of the B-samples.”
Per ITA’s directives, the case will be directed to the Anti-Doping Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport for resolution under the OCA Anti-Doping Rules.
Simultaneously, it was divulged that “a sample collected from basketball player Sami Bzai from Jordan has returned an Adverse Analytical Finding for dehydrochloromethyl-testosterone metabolite, a non-specified prohibited substance.”
WADA’s prohibited list encompasses three categories: substances and methodologies banned at all times, both in-competition and out of competition; restricted solely during the in-competition phase; and proscribed only in specific sports.
In-competition is demarcated by International Federations as the duration “commencing at 11:59 p.m. on the day before a competition in which the athlete is scheduled to participate through to the end of such competition and the sample collection process related to such competition.”
The Philippines concluded the Asiad in 17th place, amassing a tally of 4 gold, 2 silver, and 12 bronze medals.
The Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee has yet to release a statement regarding the potential ramifications of the failed doping tests on the ultimate standings.
Up to this juncture, 10 Asiad athletes have returned positive results for banned substances, including another Filipino athlete, cyclist Ariana Thea Patrice Dormitorio.
Dormitorio underwent testing on Sept. 24, with results indicating “Adverse Analytical Findings for the non-specified prohibited substance erythropoietin (EPO).”
The ITA clarified, “It is important to note that some of the cases may not be concluded and could be subject to dispute before the Court of Arbitration for Sport.”
In a parallel incident in 2018, Kiefer Ravena received an 18-month suspension from the world basketball federation FIBA after testing positive for three prohibited substances, which he attributed to inadvertent consumption of a pre-workout beverage.
This transpired while the Philippines was engrossed in the second window of the Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers.