What's next? Brownlee's failed doping test inevitably raises questions

Ralph Edwin Villanueva - Philstar.com
What's next? Brownlee's failed doping test inevitably raises questions
Justin Brownlee

MANILA, Philippines -- Will there be an asterisk on the Gilas Pilipinas’ gold medal finish in the Hangzhou Asian Games, following Justin Brownlee’s positive result on a doping test?

Roughly a week after Brownlee’s high-scoring heroics carried Gilas to the Philippines’ first Asiad gold medal in 61 years, the beloved naturalized player was flagged by the International Testing Agency (ITA) after his sample was found positive for carboxy-THC.

Carboxy-THC is a specified prohibited substance by the World Anti-Doping Agency, and is a psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.

This led to some social media users asking whether or not the gold medal of Gilas will be rescinded.

“So, what will happen, will Gilas just be silver now or do they want them to just take home the bronze?” a comment on the story by Philstar.com read.

“Just give the gold to China because JB tested positive, and another player from Jordan also tested positive, so since [China] brought home the bronze, they will take home the gold. They cannot move on from their loss!” another comment read. 

Others even voiced doubt on the timing and the results of the drug test.

According to the Anti-Doping Rules of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) for the Hangzhou Asiad, if a member of a team in team sports was notified of an anti-doping rule violation, the ITA will conduct target testing of the team during the Hangzhou Asian Games period.

The OCA added that if more than two members of a team are flagged for anti-doping, they will be imposed an “appropriate sanction on the team.”

Some examples given in the handbook were loss of points, disqualification from a competition or event, or other sanctions.

This will be on top of consequences imposed on the individual athletes committing the anti-doping rule violation.

The Hangzhou Asiad closed on October 8.

Gilas won the gold medal on October 6, but the ITA said that the sample was collected “during an in-competition anti-doping control performed on 7 October 2023.”

The sample collection authority was the China Anti-Doping Agency.

Aside from Brownlee, Sami Bzai, a player from Jordan, which finished second in the basketball tournament, was also flagged by the ITA.

Bzai, unlike Brownlee, was found positive for dehydrochloromethyl-testosterone metabolite.

Brownlee has the right to request the analysis of the B-samples.

The test will also be referred to the Anti-Doping Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport, for adjudication.

What happens next is still up in the air, pending next moves.

Philstar.com has reached out to Gilas head coach Tim Cone, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio and PBA Commissioner and Gilas deputy team manager Willie Marcial for comments. So far, none was given.

Brownlee and other sports officials are yet to give a statement on the news.

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