Shooting: Para athlete Abdulla Alblooshi banned for two years for doping

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has suspended shooting Para athlete Saeed Mohammed Abdulla Alblooshi for two years for committing an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV) in violation of the IPC Anti-Doping Code (IPC Code).

On 11 November 2022, a urine sample was collected from the athlete in competition during the R9-Mixed 50m Rifle Prone SH2 event at the Al Ain 2022 World Shooting Para Sport Championships. Laboratory testing revealed that the sample contained propranolol and its metabolite 4-hydroxypropranolol (propranolol), a prohibited substance listed under Class P1 (beta-blockers) of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List for the 2022 World Championships. 

Propranolol is commonly used to treat high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, performance anxiety, tremors and to prevent migraine headaches. It is known to have a performance-enhancing effect in shooting athletes and is banned at all times for athletes in shooting Para-Shooting. 

The athlete had not applied for a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) for the use of propranolol. After being notified of the Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF), the athlete accepted a voluntary provisional suspension on 6 February 2023. On 26 April 2023, the athlete was charged with an ADRV in accordance with the IPC Code (IPC IF Rules). The IPC did not establish that the violation was intentional. Accordingly, the IPC argued that the applicable period of ineligibility should be two years.

He did not dispute the AAF or the fact that he was taking propranolol, but sought a reduction in the period of Ineligibility on the basis that he was not at fault or negligent for the ADRV. The athlete relied primarily on his lack of education and understanding of the requirements of the IPC Code, and that he had no intention of using propranolol for performance-enhancing purposes. 

The International Paralympic Committee works for clean sport.
The International Paralympic Committee works for clean sport.

A hearing of the IPC Independent Anti-Doping Tribunal was held on 26 October 2022. In deciding that the athlete should not be entitled to a reduction in the standard two-year period of ineligibility, the Independent Tribunal found that the athlete had failed to take precautions to ensure that none of his medications contained a prohibited substance. It is a minimum requirement that every athlete take reasonable steps to ensure that he or she is not taking any medication that is on the Prohibited List. This list is readily available online. 

As a result of the ADRV, the athlete will be ineligible for competition and other sporting activities (other than approved anti-doping education or rehabilitation programmes) for a period of two years from 6 February 2023 to 5 February 2025, taking into account the period of provisional suspension served. All results obtained by the athlete from 11 November 2022 until 6 February 2023 have been disqualified with all resulting consequences, including forfeiture of any medals, points and prizes. 

Jude Ellis, IPC Head of Anti-Doping, said: "This case serves as a timely reminder that athletes must be aware of their rights and responsibilities under the IPC Code. This includes responsibility for anything they take or use that could lead to a positive test. Athletes are strongly advised to seek the advice of a physician or appropriately trained professional to ensure that any medication prescribed to them does not contain a substance or method included on the Prohibited List. If no alternative treatment is available and an athlete needs to take medication containing a prohibited substance or method for health reasons, the athlete is advised to apply for a TUE as soon as possible. 

Jude Ellis, IPC Head of Anti-Doping.
Jude Ellis, IPC Head of Anti-Doping.

"This case also highlights the importance of anti-doping education. NPCs are strongly encouraged to work with their national or regional anti-doping organisation to ensure that their athletes receive education appropriate to their level of competition," she added. 

As a signatory to the World Anti-Doping Code, the IPC remains committed to a doping-free sporting environment. While the IPC continues to find ways to support anti-doping education at the local level, athletes are reminded that it is their personal responsibility to apply for a TUE as soon as possible, to be aware of the Prohibited List, to know and comply with the IPC Code and to take full responsibility for what they take. 

The IPC acts as the International Federation for five Para sports: World Para Athletics, World Para Ice Hockey, World Para Powerlifting, World Para Shooting and World Para Swimming. The IPC's vision is to create an inclusive world through Para sports.