Updated July 3
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, July 1. REIGNING world champion Cesar Cielo is one of four Brazilian athletes who tested positive for a banned substance and were subsequently given a warning today by the Brazilian swimming federation. FINA, however, has stated that it will investigate the matter more thoroughly.
Cielo, Nicholas Santos, Henrique Barbosa and Vinicius Waked, all headed to Shanghai this month to compete in the world championships, tested positive for furosemide at the Maria Lenk Trophy meet last month. The World Anti-Doping Agency has put it on the banned list of drugs because it acts as a masking agent for other drugs.
The Brazilian doping control panel determined that only a warning was necessary, after taking each athlete's prior history of negative drug tests into consideration, as well as claims that the drug did not enhance performance at the meet. The panel cited FINA rule DC 10.4, which in part states:
Where a Competitor or other Person can establish how a Specified Substance entered his or her body or came into his or her Possession and that such Specified Substance was not intended to enhance the Competitor's sport performance or mask the Use of a performance-enhancing substance, the period of Ineligibility found in DC 10.2 shall be replaced with the following:
First violation: At a minimum, a reprimand and no period of Ineligibility from future Competitions, and at a maximum, two years' of Ineligibility.
To justify any elimination or reduction, the Competitor or other Person must produce corroborating evidence in addition to his or her word which establishes to the comfortable satisfaction of the hearing panel the absence of an intent to enhance sport performance or mask the Use of a performance enhancing substance. The Competitor's or other Person's degree of fault shall be the criterion considered in assessing any reduction of the period of Ineligibility.
On his website, Cielo went into further explanation of the decision, saying the drug furosemide came into contact with his normal supplements through cross-contamination. He goes on to state that he takes every precaution to know the types of drugs he takes and, in a loose translation of his online statement in Portuguese, "I consider myself an exemplary athlete in this regard."
In his statement, Cielo also said he took a blood test at the recent Paris Open and was informed of his negative drug tests at the Michigan Grand Prix.
Click here to read Cielo's full statement in Portuguese.
FINA, meanwhile, has told the Associated Foreign Press that it will take a closer look at Brazil's ruling as FINA now has 30 days to either accept the warning, or look for further punishment for the positive tests.
"We'll examine all elements: either we agree with the Brazilian federation's decision, or not, and we appeal before CAS (world sport's Court of Arbitration for Sport)," FINA's Cornel Marculescu told the AFP.