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U.S. Weightlifting Athlete, Matsushima, Accepts Sanction for Anti-Doping Rule Violation

weightJanuary 6, 2017

USADA announced today that Angelique Matsushima, of Verona, Wis., an athlete in the sport of weightlifting, has accepted a six-month sanction for an anti-doping rule violation.

Matsushima, 20, tested positive for Carboxy-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a metabolite of marijuana and/or hashish, above the decision limit of 180 ng/mL, as a result of a urine sample collected on September 23, 2016, at the 2016 National University Championships in New Orleans, La. Carboxy-THC is a substance in the class of Cannabinoids and prohibited in-competition under the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing, the United States Olympic Committee National Anti-Doping Policies, and the International Weightlifting Federation Anti-Doping Rules, all of which have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List.

Cannabinoids are deemed Specified Substances, meaning that a resulting sanction can be reduced depending on an athlete’s degree of fault. Here, although USADA accepted Matsushima’s explanation that her use of the prohibited substance occurred out-of-competition, the presence of the substance in her sample, collected in-competition, constituted an anti-doping rule violation.

Matsushima accepted a six-month period of ineligibility, which began on October 27, 2016, the date she accepted a provisional suspension. Based on Matsushima’s successful completion of a USADA anti-doping educational tutorial, her period of ineligibility was reduced by three months and is now scheduled to expire on January 27, 2017.

As a result of the doping violation, Matsushima has been disqualified from all competitive results obtained on and subsequent to September 23, 2016, the date her positive sample was collected, including forfeiture of any medals, points and prizes.

Athletes are advised that the use of a substance or medication out-of-competition, that is prohibited only in-competition, may result in an anti-doping rule violation if the prohibited substance is still present in their body when tested at a competition. USADA cannot predict the clearance time for any substance for any particular individual. If an athlete needs to therapeutically use a substance prohibited in-competition and they are nearing a competition, they are strongly encouraged to contact USADA to learn if they need a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE).

In an effort to aid athletes, as well as all support team members such as parents and coaches, in understanding the rules applicable to them, USADA provides comprehensive instruction on its website on the testing process and prohibited substances, how to obtain permission to use a necessary medication, and the risks and dangers of taking supplements as well as performance-enhancing and recreational drugs. In addition, USADA manages a drug reference hotline, Global Drug Reference Online (www.GlobalDRO.com), conducts educational sessions with National Governing Bodies and their athletes, and proactively distributes a multitude of educational materials, such as the Prohibited List, easy-reference wallet cards, periodic newsletters, and protocol and policy reference documentation.

USADA is responsible for the testing and results management process for athletes in the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movement, and is equally dedicated to preserving the integrity of sport through research initiatives and educational programs.

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