'Harassment': Halep Releases Statement After Second Anti-Doping Breach

'Harassment': Halep Releases Statement After Second Anti-Doping Breach

by Kadir Macar

Opening a new chapter in her ongoing battle with the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA), Simona Halep is facing a second anti-doping breach charge.

The 31-year-old, who has been on provisional suspension since October 2022, has found herself in the crosshairs of another doping investigation. This comes after testing positive for Roxadustat, an anti-anaemia drug known to stimulate red blood cell production, during the US Open last August.

Now, Halep has been implicated in another unrelated offence concerning irregularities in her Athlete Biological Passport (ABP). An ABP, a tool developed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and integrated into the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (TADP) under the WADA Code, monitors certain blood parameters over time to detect potential Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs).

Halep's additional charge, an Adverse Passport Finding, arises from an independent ABP Expert Panel's assessment of her ABP profile. This charge stands apart from the Roxadustat case that initially prompted Halep's provisional suspension.

In the wake of these allegations, Halep issued a heartfelt statement, providing a personal account of her struggle. Describing the experience as her "worst nightmare," she passionately denied the allegations, expressing her frustration over the relentless scrutiny from the ITIA.

Halep detailed her repeated attempts to seek judgement from an Independent Tribunal, lamenting the ITIA's consistent delays. She also shared her perspective on the latest charge.

"Since October 7, when I got charged by the ITIA for a suspicion of doping. I have lived the worst nightmare I have ever gone through in my life. Not only has my name been soiled in the worst possible way, but I am facing a constant determination from the ITIA for a reason that I cannot understand, to prove my guilt while i haven't ever even thought of taking any illicit substance."

"I tried two times to have the opportunity to be judged by an Independent Tribunal and the ITIA has constantly found reasons to postpone. Now that we have clearly established that I have been a victim of contamination, they came up with a so-called not normal evolution of my blood. Three World renowned experts that have studied my blood tests have been extremely clear that my blood is totally normal."

The Romanian painted a picture of feeling helpless and harassed, stating her disappointment in the ITIA's perceived determination to prove her guilt. At the same time, she vehemently reiterated her commitment to fair play, asserting that the idea of cheating conflicts with her values.

"I feel helpless facing such harassment and a motivation on their behalf to prove me guilty of something I never did. Once again, all my life I have been totally against any sort of cheating. It doesn't align with my values."

With an impending hearing scheduled for late May, Halep expressed hope for a fair trial before an impartial tribunal. Despite the trials she has endured, her faith in justice remains unshaken. She looks forward to presenting her case and, ultimately, proving her innocence.

"The only thing I hope for at this point is to have the possibility to finally access the independent and impartial judges in a tribunal, that will give me the chance to prove my innocence. I have full trust in justice and I look forward to finally being able to present my case at my hearing that is scheduled at the end of May after several delays by the ITIA."


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