World Championships Silver Medalist Joao Gomes, Jr. Tests Positive For COVID-19 According to Reports

joao-gomes
Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

Two-time World Championships medalist Joao Gomes, Jr. of Brazil has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a report from Globoesporte.com. Gomes, 34, has won two World Championships medals, with a silver coming in 2017 and a bronze in 2019, both coming in the 50 breaststroke.

A group of Brazilian athletes were to take part in a months-long training camp in Portugal and other European countries, as a way to safely prepare for the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo. But with Gomes now testing positive, he will need to stay home in São Paulo for the time being, while Brazil’s first group of 73 athletes will head to Portugal this Friday. Approximately 200 Brazilian athletes will take part in this trip that will take place between July and December.

It is mandatory for anyone entering Portuguese territory that they get tested for COVID-19 up to 72 hours before the flight, with a proven negative result. Joao Gomes did a private test because he had experienced some symptoms and the result was positive, according to Globoesporte.com. 15 Brazilian swimmers and three synchro swimmers will be training in Rio Maior, about an hour from Lisbon.

Brazil, with almost 2 million infections and 75,000 deaths, is among the epicentres of the COVID-19 outbreak. The Rio region accounts for 132,000 infections and around 11,500 deaths. Brazil is second only to the United States (3.5m, just shy of 140,000) on the league of numbers of infections and deaths.

Gomes’ place will not be filled by another swimmer.

Joao Gomes, Jr. made his Olympic debut in 2016 at age 30, where he placed fifth in the 100 breaststroke final in front of the home Brazilian crowd in Rio. At the recent World Championships last summer, he finished 11th in the 100 breaststroke and did not advance past the semi finals.

Doping Positive Back In 2014

Joao Luiz Gomes Jr was suspended for six months after a December 4, 2014 positive doping test for Hydrochlorothiazide (Class S.5 Diuretics and Other Masking Agents) during the FINA World Swimming Championships in Doha, Qatar.

In a statement, the international federation stated: “The FINA Doping Panel decided according to the FINA DC Rule 10.4 to impose on the athlete a period of six (6) months’ ineligibility, starting on December 4, 2014 and ending at the conclusion of the June 3, 2015 for his first anti-doping rule violation.

“Furthermore, the FINA Doping Panel decided that all results achieved by the swimmer on or after December 4, 2014 shall be annulled together with the consequences thereof (forfeiture of medals/prizes, reimbursement of prize money).

“The results of the Brazilian relays obtained during the FINA World Swimming Championships in Doha (QAT) were not cancelled. The motivation of the FINA Doping Panel’s decision will follow in the near future.”

The ruling was controversial in that the Brazilian relay made the medley final with Gomes in the prelims quartet and prelims swimmers get medals. In that sense, the whole relay should have been removed, the fight against doping watered down, critics said at the time.

Gomes’ case left Brazil in a race with Russia as the worst-offending nation in swimming on the way to hosting the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Since 2009, Brazil had accounted for 21 positive doping tests in aquatic sports (plus a coach) at the times Gomes tested positive. Most of the cases were  swimmers, 18 of them having tested positive after Rio was awarded hosting rights to the 2016 Olympic Games. One of the striking things about the cases is that they are all in competition, not a single out-of-competition positive, the taint confined to race day.

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