The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) has today confirmed that South African wheelchair tennis player Mariska Venter has been suspended for a period of 12 months following a breach of the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (TADP). 

Venter, who has a career-high ITF singles ranking of 27, was tested at an event in Belgium in 2022. Subsequent analysis of the sample found presence of metabolites of sibutramine. Sibutramine is a stimulant banned at all times under Section S6 (Stimulants) of the 2022 WADA Prohibited List. Sibutramine is a Specified Substance. 

On 8 December 2022 the ITIA sent the player a formal charge asserting that the player had breached TADP Articles 2.1 and/or 2.2. The player accepted a voluntary provisional suspension on 13 December 2022.  

The player stated that the finding was due to contaminated supplements they had been taking. The ITIA accepted that whilst the player must take responsibility for the breach, the fault or negligence of the player was not ‘significant’ as the prohibited substance came from a contaminated product and the prohibited substance was not disclosed on the product label, nor would it have been disclosed in information available in a reasonable internet search. Therefore, there was sufficient discretion available to reduce the usual two-year ban applicable under TADP Article 10.6 to 12 months.  

In accordance with TADP Article 10.13.2, the Player is entitled to credit for the period of provisional suspension served to date. As such, Venter’s 12-month period of ineligibility commenced on 14 December 2022, and will expire at midnight on 13 December 2023. 

The ITIA is the delegated third party, under the World Anti-Doping Code of the International Tennis Federation, the international governing body for the sport of tennis and signatory of the Code. The ITIA is responsible for the management and administration of anti-doping across professional tennis in accordance with the TADP.

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Published 05 July 2023 11:00

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