A top international boxing official has denied an allegation that he “would not permit” a Togolese boxer to undergo a routine anti-doping test at the recent All-Africa Games in Brazzaville.
The allegation, contained in the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) independent observer report on the Games, states that: “After signing the notification section of the doping control form, the President of the African Boxing Confederation (AFBC), who is also from Togo, approached the chaperone and athlete, informing them that the athlete did not have to be tested."
The report continues: “Despite being told that the athlete was selected for testing and must comply with the procedures, otherwise risking a potential anti-doping rule violation, the President of the Confederation would not permit the athlete to be tested.
“The athlete left and the [Doping Control Officer] and chaperone filed a report to [the Local Games Organising Committee].”
However, AFBC President Kelani Bayor has emailed a detailed rebuttal to insidethegames, making clear that the incident involved Fatoui Sarouna, who eventually won a silver medal for Togo in the men’s lightweight competition.
According to Bayor’s account, Sarouna had developed a migraine a few hours before his bout on September 7.
The competitions doctor had therefore indicated that he should be taken to the medical unit inside the Talangai Sports Complex where the Games were being held.
The doctor, Mohamed Lekhali, is said to have declared that it was probably the start of a fever.
Bayor says he does not know what treatment was administered, but Sarouna then returned to the dressing-rooms which he left three hours later in order to compete.
Just after the bout, which he won, Bayor says Sarouna was approached by five anti-doping agents who “led him in a military way holding him by the wrist in front of the 3,500 spectators giving the impression of a criminal arrest."
“This gesture, manifestly badly perceived by the public and myself as AFBC President and supervisor of the Games, obliged me to react in a manner appropriate to the circumstances,” Bayor says.
He continues: “I immediately gave the instructions that, while anti-doping controls are an absolute necessity for clean combat and a clean victory, they must at all times conform to a polite protocol.
“This is why we have to avoid such humiliating behaviour towards boxing athletes, who should benefit a priori from a presumption of innocence.
“This was, moreover, acknowledged by two women members of this Anti-Doping Commission…
“My beneficial action in the case at no time hindered the smooth running…of the Anti-Doping Commission.”
Bayor adds that, up to now, no report on anti-doping tests performed on boxers during the Games has been given either to the AFBC or the International Boxing Confederation (AIBA) doctor present on site.
In a subsequent email in response to a question from this reporter, Bayor states that, as far as he knows, Sarouna was tested and would have been given a document affirming as much.
“Nobody opposed it, least of all me, since I was the one who authorised the conduct of tests on a percentage of the athletes engaged in the competitions," he said.
“I don’t understand this fierceness against me."
As reported by insidethegames earlier this week, the doping control programme at the Games was severely criticised by the WADA independent observer as “ineffective from the start” and “chaotic and unorganised”.
Eight unidentified competitors – in the sports of weightlifting, wrestling and athletics – are said to have produced adverse analytical findings, but the independent observer’s report said its team had received no information about them, “despite repeated attempts”.
AIBA is in possession of Bayor’s detailed account and insidethegames understands that its Disciplinary Commission is to conduct further investigations.
November 2015: Exclusive: Mystery over eight unidentified adverse analytical findings at All-Africa Games