USADA announced today that Raven Saunders, of Tuscaloosa, Ala., an athlete in the sport of track and field, has accepted an 18-month suspension for committing three Whereabouts Failures within a 12-month period.
At the time of the Whereabouts Failures, Saunders, 26, was a member of the USADA Registered Testing Pool (RTP), which consists of a select group of elite athletes subject to certain Whereabouts requirements in order to be located for out-of-competition testing. Within a 12-month period, Saunders accrued three Whereabouts Failures: the first on January 8, 2022, the second on May 26, 2022, and the third on August 15, 2022.
The accumulation of three Whereabouts Failures within a 12-month period constitutes a rule violation under the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee National Anti-Doping Policy, and the World Athletics Anti-Doping Rules, all of which have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code.
Saunders’s 18-month period of ineligibility began on August 15, 2022, the date of her third Whereabouts Failure. In addition, Saunders has been disqualified from all competitive results achieved on and subsequent to August 15, 2022, including forfeiture of any medals, points, and prizes.
Accurate Whereabouts information is crucial to locate athletes for effective out-of-competition testing, which helps deter and detect doping by enabling no-advance notice sample collection. This is especially important because some prohibited substances have limited detection windows and the most effective test timing must remain unpredictable. All athletes within USADA’s RTP and Clean Athlete Pool are required to provide accurate and up-to-date whereabouts in accordance with the anti-doping rules.
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 file and update athlete Whereabouts, 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 distributes a multitude of educational materials, such as a supplement guide, a nutrition guide, a clean sport handbook, and periodic alerts and advisories.
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 text at 87232 (“USADA”), by email at playclean@USADA.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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