Rugby League athlete receives sanction

9 May 2018

The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) has acknowledged the decision of the National Rugby League to impose a one year ban on athlete Bacho Salam for the presence and use of a prohibited substance.

Mr Salam provided a sample on 24 January 2017 during an out-of-competition test. The sample was analysed at the Australian Sports Drug Testing Laboratory, part of the National Measurement Institute, which detected the presence of Higenamine.

Higenamine is banned at all times under the S3 class of Beta-2 Agonists on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Prohibited List 2017 and is increasingly being detected in dietary supplements.

Mr Salam accepted a voluntary provisional suspension on 17 May 2017 and waived his right to a hearing. As a result, he is ineligible to participate, as an athlete or support person, in any sports that have adopted a World Anti-Doping Code compliant anti-doping policy until 17 May 2018. 

ASADA’s longstanding advice is that athletes can never be 100% certain that any supplement is free from prohibited substances. Due to poor regulation of the industry, supplements companies are not required to prove that their products are safe, effective or even accurately labelled.

ASADA has issued a number of warnings about Higenamine and supplements more broadly, including advice that up to 1 in 5 Australian supplements contain prohibited substances, often not listed on labels.

To reduce their risk of testing positive, ASADA recommends athletes consider not taking supplements at all, or if required, that they choose low-risk products which have been batch tested by an independent  auditing company. 

To assist athletes, ASADA has released a new mobile app ASADA Clean Sport, which lists every batch-tested supplement available for sale on Australian shelves. The app is free to download and is available on Android and Apple phones. 

Further information on the risk of supplements and ways for athletes to reduce that risk is available on the ASADA website: https://www.asada.gov.au/substances/supplements-sport

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