Former Olympic pole vault champion Thiago Braz gets 16-month doping ban

    Thiago Braz da Silva, the Brazilian pole vaulter who won Olympic gold on home soil in 2016, has been banned for 16 months after he was found to have violated anti-doping regulations.

    In a statement released on Tuesday, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) said Braz was deemed to have breached the World Athletics Anti-Doping Rules (ADR 2.1) relating to “presence of a prohibited substance or its metabolites or markers in an athlete’s sample”. Braz is set to miss this summer’s Games in Paris as a result of his ban.

    The 30-year-old, who also set an Olympic record of 6.03m at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, has filed an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas). Braz has been suspended since last July, when he tested positive for the banned substance ostarine glucuronide, which he said he inadvertently consumed through sports supplements.

    Braz has argued that he did not knowingly use the substance as he had been given supplements containing ostarine by his sports nutritionalist to improve his health and had been assured that none of the supplements contained banned substances. Ostarine is used to enhance muscle growth and athletic performance.

    The AIU is considering an appeal after it had sought a four-year ban for Braz. The disciplinary tribunal ruled that he had not manifestly disregarded the risk, which he had been informed of, because he relied on his medical team for advice.

    Braz, who also won bronze at the Tokyo Games in 2021, returned the positive result after a Diamond League meeting in Stockholm on 2 July. His existing suspension period is credited towards the ban, meaning that he is barred from competing until 27 November this year, pending an appeal.

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    At the age of 22, Braz became one of the stars of his home Olympics after winning a dramatic late-night battle for gold with France’s Renaud Lavillenie. His victory was one of seven gold medals won by the host nation at the 2016 Games.

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