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US Paralympic star, Roderick Townsend who took his dog’s medication after sharing a syringe with his dying pet is cleared of doping

American Paralympic athlete, Roderick Townsend, who took his dog’s medication after sharing a syringe with his dying pet is cleared of doping and free to compete at the 2024 Paris Games. 

The three-time Paralympic gold medalist tested positive for capromorelin, a growth hormone stimulator that is prohibited at all times under the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing on November 1, 2023.”

But, following an investigation, it transpires that all was not as it seemed and Townsend provided an abnormal sample through no fault of his own. 

USADA investigation into Townsend found that the athlete had been giving his dog, who has since passed, specific medicine which contained capromorelin.

Townsend, who sustained permanent nerve damage to his right arm and shoulder at birth, provided evidence of a prescription liquid pet medication containing the substance as he was trying to stabilise his dog’s ailing weight.

The medicine was delivered to the dog orally via a syringe in the final weeks of life, before Townsend kept the syringe that had traces of the medicine. 

The track and field star, who won high jump gold at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics, would go on to use the syringe himself when measuring out, and ingesting, a liquid vitamin D supplement that had been recommended to him by his nutritionist.

He had been unaware of potential residue from the dog’s medicine used in the syringe prior. 

‘With increasing detection and investigation capabilities, it’s our responsibility to ensure that we protect innocent athletes while holding accountable intentional cheaters,’ Travis T. Tygart, Chief Executive Officer of USADA, said in a statement.

‘WADA rules require publication of no fault findings such as this to remain compliant with the rules.

We will continue to fervently advocate to WADA that athletes shouldn’t be charged with violations or subjected to public scrutiny when they inadvertently come into contact with a prohibited substance and there is no effect on performance.’ 

He has now been cleared and will not face any punishment or period of ineligibilty, meaning he can push ahead to the Paralympic Games this summer. 

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