'Biological passport' caught cheat
May 03, 2012
PORTUGUESE long-distance runner Helder Ornelas has become the first athlete to be banned over anomalies in his "biological passport".
The 38-year-old received a four-year ban from the Portuguese Athletic Federation (FPA) after the evidence comprised of a series of blood test results collected by the IAAF, athletics' world governing body, in the course of the Athlete Biological Passport program between December 2009 and November 2010.
"It is the first time that the Athlete Biological Passport has been used in Athletics as sole evidence in support of an anti-doping rule violation," the IAAF said.
The Athlete Biological Passport measures and monitors an athlete's blood variables over time and establishes an individual longitudinal profile which can indicate the use of a prohibited substance or a prohibited method.
"Ornelas' blood profile was flagged as being abnormal in May 2011 which triggered further investigations in accordance with IAAF Anti-Doping Regulations," the IAAF said.
"Ornelas' blood profile was submitted to an Expert Panel composed of three international experts in the field of haematology.
"Following an in-depth review of Ornelas's profile, the experts unanimously concluded that there was no known reasonable explanation for the abnormalities observed in his blood profile other than the use of a prohibited substance or a prohibited method."
Ornelas did not exercise his right of appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the FPA's decision to impose the ban is final and binding under IAAF rules.
IAAF president Lamine Diack said the case had proven the merits of the passport.
"Those who try to cheat within the athletics community should be warned that the Athlete Biological Passport is not merely a concept but rather an efficient method that is now being used by the IAAF Anti-Doping Department to identify, target and catch those who believe that doping is the only route to success," Diack said.
"Cheaters should also be aware that, if they are caught, the IAAF will seek an increased four-year sanction whenever the circumstances so justify."