The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) is deliberating an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) after Erriyon Knighton, a 20-year-old American sprinter, avoided a doping ban for testing positive for trenbolone, a banned substance used to promote muscle growth, back in March. An independent arbitrator ruled on June 19 that Knighton likely ingested the substance unknowingly through tainted meat.

The decision permits Knighton to compete in the forthcoming United States Olympic trials, commencing on Friday in Oregon. Wada has indicated it will await a detailed breakdown of the ruling before determining whether to pursue further action.

“We will thoroughly review the reasoned decision and case file with our customary caution and diligence,” a Wada spokesperson stated to BBC Sport, underscoring the rarity of trenbolone contamination through meat consumption.

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Trenbolone is legally used as a growth promoter in beef cattle in the United States and can inadvertently contaminate meat supplies. Travis Tygart, CEO of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (Usada), expressed satisfaction with the outcome, asserting that justice had been upheld in Knighton’s case.

However, Tygart has been vocal about doping issues, particularly criticizing China’s handling of doping cases involving their athletes. Recently, China included 11 athletes implicated in a doping scandal on their swimming team roster for Paris, prompting Tygart to call for sanctions.


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Previously, Tygart clashed with Wada over the handling of Chinese athletes accused of unintentionally ingesting trimetazidine, a heart medication. He accused Wada of a lack of transparency and called for greater accountability in the disciplinary process.

In response, a Wada spokesperson defended their procedures, highlighting the differences in approach between Knighton’s case and those of the Chinese athletes. “Unlike the China TMZ 23, we adhered to regulations by provisionally suspending the athlete, presenting the case to an independent arbitrator, and publicly disclosing the outcome,” Tygart clarified in a statement to Reuters.

The controversy highlights broader concerns about doping in international sports and the scrutiny faced by anti-doping bodies like Wada in ensuring fairness and transparency.