Injury medication could've led to Brownlee’s positive doping result, says POC chief

Ralph Edwin Villanueva - Philstar.com
Injury medication could've led to Brownlee�s positive doping result, says POC chief
Justin Brownlee

MANILA, Philippines -- The positive drug test on Justin Brownlee may be due to his prescription medicine for his injury, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Bambol Tolentino said.

Tolentino, in an interview over CNN Philippines’ Sports Desk, said he has talked with the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas regarding the matter.

“It was known that he had a medical condition before the Asian Games. He was injured, so there are prescriptions from the States, from his doctors,” Tolentino bared.

Brownlee underwent surgery back in August due to bone spurs in his foot. 

“Maybe there was prohibited content that slipped in. But, it’s different. It is not enhancing drugs or what. Maybe it is just for his pain or injury,” he added.

The Philippine basketball world was rocked earlier in the week after Brownlee, whose heroics lifted Gilas Pilipinas to the gold medal in the Hangzhou Asian Games, was flagged by the International Testing Agency (ITA.)

He was flagged after his sample yielded positive for carboxy-THC, a psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.

“THC is legal in the USA, legal in Europe and now it’s a medical treatment that is legal in Thailand. We do not know, because maybe it is for his injury and he was treated there,” Tolentino said.

The POC president admitted that if Brownlee still tested positive on his B sample, he may face a two-year suspension.

In that case, the Philippine delegation may appeal their case before the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

“But if we appeal it and the reasoning was solid, and there was the justification and explanation, there were times that the [suspension] was lowered to one month to three months,” Tolentino said.

Meanwhile, the POC chief reiterated that the gold medal of the Philippines in men’s basketball will not be taken back.

Tolentino cited the Anti-Doping Rules of the Olympic Council of Asia for the Asian Games wherein it was stated that sanctions will be given if more than two members of a team were found to have committed anti-doping rule violation.

He revealed that the whole team was already tested after the Asiad, and it was only Brownlee who was flagged.

He also shut down comments that bronze medalist China might be given the gold medal in the Asiad after both gold and silver medalists, Philippines and Jordan, had a player who was flagged for doping.

“[China being gifted the gold] is the worst that could happen. That is too much. It will not reach that point, because if [Brownlee] is really positive, he will just be suspended,” Tolentino said.

“But it is not finished yet. We still have until October 19 to decide on our appeal.”

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