Thiago Braz, the gold medalist in pole vaulting from the 2016 Rio Olympics, has been banned for 16 months by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) for violating anti-doping regulations. Braz tested positive for ostarine, a substance that mimics the effects of testosterone and is prohibited for human consumption worldwide.

The suspension, which was initially provisional, began last July. Braz asserts that he inadvertently consumed ostarine through sports supplements recommended by his nutritionist. He intends to contest the ban before the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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At 30 years old, Braz had also secured a bronze medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Due to the ban, he will be unable to compete in the Paris Olympics this summer. The AIU had originally pursued a four-year ban, accusing Braz of “reckless” conduct and acting with “indirect intent.” However, the disciplinary tribunal concluded that while Braz was aware of potential contamination risks, he was not “significantly at fault or negligent” because he relied on his medical team’s guidance.

Despite the tribunal’s decision, the AIU may still challenge the duration of the ban. Brett Clothier, head of the AIU, expressed disappointment, noting that Brazilian athletes, including Braz, had been explicitly warned about the risks associated with supplements from compound pharmacies.

“Athletes from Brazil, including Mr. Braz, have been specifically educated about the dangers surrounding the use of supplements from compound pharmacies in Brazil,” Clothier said. “Given these clear warnings, it is disappointing to encounter such a case.”

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