German and Spanish news media have reported on Wednesday that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is planning to appeal against a decision to clear 22-year-old German table tennis player Dimitrij Ovtcharov over a positive for clenbuterol caused by contaminated meat.
Citing un-named sources in the German Table Tennis Federation (DTTB) and within WADA itself, the reports state that WADA is not satisfied with the verdict and will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). WADA itself has made no official comment on the case.
Ovtcharov’s case arguably presents certain similarities to Contador’s. Like the Spaniard, the German tested positive for clenbuterol in a miniscule quantity – 75 picograms – and the analysis was carried out in the same laboratory in Cologne that revealed Contador’s positive.
Like Contador, too, the German then claimed that he had been a victim of contaminated meat – in Ovtcharov’s case, in China, given that he had eaten beef whilst at the China Open tournament.
The DTTB and the International Table Tennis Federation both accepted Ovtcharov’s explanation – according to one European Table Tennis Union press release, complete with backing from the Cologne anti-doping lab boss Wilhelm Schanzer himself, who apparently admitted there were cases of clenbuterol abuse in livestock in China – and the player was cleared.
But now it would appear, although it has yet to be confirmed officially, that WADA wish to re-open the case.
WADA president David Howman has already stated that they will use CAS if necessary in the Contador case, currently being analysed by the Spanish Cycling Federation.
Howman told the New York Times last week “there are perceived and potential conflicts, but I think the only thing we can say is that we have the right to appeal.”