Gilas keeps Asian Games gold despite Justin Brownlee's failed anti-doping test

Gilas Pilipinas stays as Asian Games champ. PSC-POC Media Pool (file photo) 
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Gilas Pilipinas will remain as the Asian Games men's 5x5 basketball champion even if one of its key players tested positive for a prohibited substance.

Philippine Olympic Committee president Bambol Tolentino said on Friday that the failed anti-doping test on Justin Brownlee will not affect the final ranking for the said tournament since he was the only one who tested positive.

“The gold remains with us,” Tolentino said, which would allay fears from Gilas fans who woke up to the bad news.

He cited Article 11.2 of the anti-doping rules set for this year's Asian Games, saying that a team can only be stripped of a medal if at least three of its players test positive for a prohibited substance.

Although the World Anti-Doping Code allows the Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee to have the option to impose stricter sanctions, the group opted to adopt the default rule as it is.

As announced by the International Testing Agency late Thursday night, Brownlee tested positive for carboxy-THC, defined by the University of Washington Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute as a "readily detected non-psychoactive metabolite of cannabis (marijuana)."

According to the POC, Brownlee can appeal for his failed drug test until Thursday and was given an option to have his B sample tested too.

For now, though, Brownlee, like cyclist Ariana Dormitorio, is provisionally suspended until he proves his innocence.

“All Brownlee needs is to prove his innocence in contesting the result if he allows testing his B Sample,” Tolentino further said.

However, if his B sample tests positive for carboxy-THC too, Brownlee risks getting suspended from all competitions for two years, which means he could be ruled out for the upcoming PBA Commissioner's Cup as Ginebra's import.

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