Doctor banned for life for using doping test doppelgangers


LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) – A doctor in Moldova has been banned from the sport for life for asking look-alikes to donate drug test samples under the names of real weightlifters heading to the world championships.

The International Testing Agency said Thursday that Dorin Balmus was representing three Moldovan athletes in 2015 when asked to provide samples shortly before competing at the world championships in Houston.

The ITA said three look-alikes had assumed the identity of the weightlifters because they “were each undergoing a cycle of doping at the time” and were at risk of testing positive. All three were able to compete in the world championships, but were subsequently given doping bans.

Lifetime doping bans are rare in sport, but the ITA has deemed it appropriate for Balmus “given the nature and seriousness of the rule violations.”

The deception was later revealed in a 2020 documentary by German broadcaster ARD. The film also reported doping cover-ups and financial irregularities at the International Weightlifting Federation, which led to the resignation of longtime President Tamas Ajan.

The World Anti-Doping Agency alleged last year that the practice of using impostors for doping tests was prevalent in weightlifting and said it was investigating 18 suspected cases of “urine surrogate” in six countries. DNA testing can determine if a sample matches others given by the same athlete.

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