USADA announced today that Nicholas Saccente, of Springfield, Mass., an athlete in the sport of weightlifting, has accepted an additional four-month sanction for violating his period of ineligibility.
Saccente, 26, initially accepted a four-year period of ineligibility and loss of results in February 2017 after a sample he provided during an in-competition test was positive for anabolic agents. The announcement regarding Saccente’s initial violation can be found here.
While serving a period of ineligibility that prohibits Saccente from participating in any capacity, including coaching or serving as an athlete support person, in a competition or activity authorized or organized by a signatory to the World Anti-Doping Code (Code), Saccente went on to coach a USA Weightlifting (USAW) member during a USAW-sanctioned event on October 6, 2018. This participation violated the terms of his sanction, which stated that he was prohibited from participating “in any capacity in a competition or activity . . . authorized or organized by any Signatory, Signatory’s member organization, or a club or other member organization of a Signatory’s member organization.”
During USADA’s investigation into the circumstances of the violation, Saccente provided evidence diminishing his degree of fault with respect to the violation due to his mistaken belief that his sanction only applied to participating as an athlete. Nevertheless, an additional period of ineligibility was warranted because the rules are clear that participation in any capacity, including coaching, is prohibited.
Saccente accepted an additional four-month period of ineligibility, meaning his original four-year period of ineligibility beginning on September 25, 2016, has been increased to a 52-month period of ineligibility.
In an effort to aid athletes, as well as 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 (www.Supplement411.org) 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 distributes a multitude of educational materials, such as an easy-reference wallet card with examples of prohibited and permitted substances, a supplement guide, an athlete handbook, and periodic alerts and advisories.
Along with education and testing, robust anti-doping programs enable investigations stemming from tips and whistleblowers. USADA makes available a number of ways to report the abuse of performance-enhancing drugs in sport in an effort to protect clean athletes and promote clean competition. Any tip can be reported using the USADA Play Clean Tip Center, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 1-877-Play Clean (1-877-752-9253) or by mail.
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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