Welsh athletes have served their drugs bans and been cleared of knowingly cheating
Rhys Williams received a four-month suspension while Gareth Warburton was suspended for six months after both athletes tested positive for a banned substance last year.
According to the Sunday Times, the two Welsh athletes, who were both provisionally suspended and withdrawn from their Commonwealth Games team in July after being charged with violating anti-doping rules, were cleared of knowingly cheating by UK Anti-Doping (UKAD).
Following news of their failed tests last summer both Williams (pictured above), who won European 400m hurdles gold in 2012, and Warburton (pictured below), who finished fourth over 800m at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, said they had not knowingly taken any banned substances. The athletes. who both formed part of the GB team at the London 2012 Olympic Games, reportedly blamed a contaminated supplement for the failed tests and UKAD is said to have not challenged that argument, with the supplement in question allegedly having been tested and anabolic steroid metabolites detected.
With the athletes’ bans having been backdated, both are now free to return to competition.
Also reporting the news, BBC Sport published what was described as part of a UKAD statement on the case.
“UK Anti-Doping’s view is that the panel should look closely at the failings of both Mr Warburton and Mr Williams but whilst doing so recognise that this is a contaminated supplement case,” it read.
“Mr Warburton and Mr Williams may have brought this matter on themselves but they are victims. They are not cheats. They made mistakes and have paid for them heavily already. UKAD would not disagree with the panel if the panel found that their failings were not significant. We accept their evidence that they had not knowingly taken anything [that] contained the prohibited substances.”
The athletes, meanwhile, told the Sunday Times that supplements are not worth the risk. “Don’t take supplements,” said Williams. “Look what happened to me, because I bet most athletes don’t do half the checks I did.”
Warburton added: “These have been the hardest six months of my life. But the rules are in place to catch people who cheat. All athletes who take supplements are running a risk. The only way to be 100% safe is not to take them.”