Sports June 12, 2023 | 8:21 am

Doping epidemic hits Dominican Olympism like never before

Santo Domingo.- The Dominican Olympism has long been striving to distance itself from the tarnished reputation of baseball due to the issue of doping. However, there have been instances in the past where baseball players, such as Eladio Rodríguez in Cartagena 2006 and Audry Pérez in Barranquilla 2019, have faced failures in laboratory doping tests.

Notably, the country’s last medal loss in an official event occurred at the Central American and Caribbean Games (JCC) in El Salvador in 2002. Boxer Elio Enai Rojas was stripped of his gold medal, and sprinter Lorena de la Rose was also affected, losing various medals in both individual and relay events.

Unfortunately, less than two weeks before the upcoming JCC, where the country traditionally excels in medal harvest, a gloomy atmosphere looms over Dominican sports. The most recent blow to the nation’s sporting reputation comes from the confirmation of a positive test for cyclist Ismael Sánchez, which was initially revealed in April. Sánchez, a renowned vegan climber and the only Dominican to win the Vuelta Independencia five times, now faces uncertainty regarding his athletic future and potential induction into sports immortality.

This unfortunate chain of positive doping cases within a span of seven months represents an unprecedented situation in the history of Dominican Olympism. The delegation of Dominican athletes participating in the Central American and Caribbean Games in El Salvador consists of 477 athletes.

The current wave of doping cases emerges at a critical time when the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has issued an ultimatum to the country. Until August 4, the Dominican Republic must address 15 incomplete points identified during a comprehensive audit conducted in December. Failure to meet these requirements would result in a violation of the World Anti-Doping Code, potentially leading to severe international sanctions. These sanctions could limit Dominican athletes’ participation in global events as a neutral team, without their national flag and anthem.

These warnings and potential consequences highlight the urgent need for the Dominican Republic to allocate more resources toward addressing doping issues, as emphasized by the Sports Medicine Federation over the years.


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