City of Manchester could lose BAL title due to athlete drugs ban

Lithuanian Tomas Rauktys banned for two years, with results from July 27 rescinded

Manchester_BAL_Champions_2013 (Emanuelis Stasaitis)

City of Manchester could lose their 2013 British Athletics League (BAL) title following the two-year doping ban of their thrower Tomas Rauktys, a Lithuanian based in Ireland.

The Irish Sports Council announced on Friday that Rauktys had been disciplined following a positive test for the banned drug stanozolol on July 27. The 28-year-old’s adverse finding came at the Irish National Championships in Santry where he won the shot put, discus and “56lb weight-for-distance” titles.

Rauktys’ period of ineligibility commenced on August 15, 2013 – the date on which he was provisionally suspended by Athletics Ireland, but all his results from July 27 onwards have been disqualified. This includes the thrower’s last competition for City of Manchester – the name by which Sale Harriers Manchester compete in the league – at Copthall Barnet on August 3 when he was third in the A-string shot and second in the B-string discus.

Although the BAL has not yet officially revised the results, AW‘s calculations show that City of Manchester would be expected to lose the title to Shaftesbury Barnet given the deduction of Rauktys’ 22 points on the day. They would then be placed third instead of second in that final match of the season, leaving them level on points with Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers on 28. With the result then needing to be decided on cumulative match points over all four rounds, Shaftesbury would be handed the title. No other overall final standings would be affected.

However, the revision is far from official at present. The BAL said it would have to await a letter from UKA confirming its interpretation of the ruling. It would then consider the mathematical implications of this issue and any others before approving a revised result.

Rauktys, who is understood to have lived in Dublin for five years and has represented Clonliffe Harriers since 2009, had set his discus PB of 57.77m just three days before his positive test – on July 24. This was a 2.80m improvement on his pre-2013 best. He had earlier that month also added 11cm to his shot PB with 17.39m.

Speaking to AW following confirmation of Rauktys’ ban, Sale Harriers team manager Dean Hardman commented: ”At this stage I think it’s fair to say that the club condemns the use of PEDs (performance-enhancing drugs) and will, obviously, not be seeking to keep the points won by Tomas Rauktys in the match on August 3.

“This was something that was beyond our control and among the main victims of Rauktys’ use of PEDS are his own team-mates, who worked hard all season. We will not be renewing Tomas Rauktys’ membership and would like to reiterate our clear stance, which is that PEDs have no place in sport.”

In the decision issued by the Irish Sport anti-doping disciplinary panel, Rauktys claimed the failed test occurred as a result of his wife accidentally adding the prohibited substance to his supplements.

Rauktys said that as he takes 27-34 pills a day, they are crushed so as to not overload the stomach. He explained that he had been given a bottle containing stanozolol pills by an acquaintance of his from his gym in Dublin in late 2012 and, although he considered disposing of the bottle of pills, he decided to keep it in case he wanted to use the pills in the future for bodybuilding following his retirement from athletics.

He claimed that he had asked his wife to prepare his mix of supplements in order to save him time in doing so himself and that on this occasion she had accidentally included stanozolol pills. He also revealed that he realised before the national championships that he had ingested stanozolol.

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