The International Tennis Federation (ITF) on Wednesday afternoon banned South African wheelchair tennis player, Lucas Sithole, from all forms of competition for two years, for a doping violation.
Sithole was found guilty of an Anti-Doping Rule Violation under Article 2.4 of the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme.
The two-time Grand Slam champion was charged with missing three drug tests in a 12-month period (on February 12, May 22 and June 25 in 2019, respectively). Under Tennis Anti-Doping Programme rules, players are required to be available for one hour every day for out-of-competition tests.
Sithole admitted to the charge and stated that family emergencies were the reasons for his unavailability. The triple-amputee’s suspension took effect from September 30 last year, the date on which he last competed. Sithole will be eligible to return to competition on September 30, 2021.
The ITF has also confirmed in its announcement that Sithole’s results between June 25, 2019, and September 30, 2019, are not disqualified, as there is no suggestion that his results during that period were affected by any doping practices.
Tennis SA CEO Richard Glover said: “We take a zero-tolerance policy towards such matters and so we fully support the ITF’s decision.
“That being said there is a human element to this and we acknowledge our responsibilities in this area. As such, we will be providing Lucas with a support programme during the period of his suspension. We are also in the process of implementing a more rigorous management structure for our high-performance athletes – including our wheelchair tennis athletes – to ensure they fully understand and adhere to all aspects of the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme.”
In partnership with ANA and Sports Leo
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