Five Athletes From 2017 Meridian Regional Banned

Five Athletes From 2017 Meridian Regional Banned
A few days after news broke that Russia and China -- among others -- may be banned from the 2017 IWF Worlds, CrossFit has some doping news of its own.

On Friday, CrossFit announced four-year bans for five athletes who competed at the 2017 Meridian Regional and tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Stella Christoforou, Andrea Barbotti, Paweł Leśnikowski, Gianluca Occhino, and Ľudovít Czókoly were the athletes banned; they tested positive for clenbuterol, clenbuterol, clenbuterol modafinil, tamoxifen, and clomiphene respectively.

Although none of the athletes placed high enough at the 2017 Meridian Regional to compete at the 2017 Reebok CrossFit Games, the four men and one woman will be banned until 2021.

Justin Bergh, the general manager of CrossFit Games, issued a statement regarding the suspension:

"Drug testing at the regional level is an important prerequisite for advancing to the CrossFit Games. Based on the behavior of certain athletes and allegations made through our support channels, we decided to change the timing and total number of samples collected from athletes outside the top five. There can be no tolerance for athletes who use PEDs at any level of competition, and the results from this will immediately affect our testing plan for subsequent events."

Barbotti responded to the news via Instagram. In his post, he seems to take responsibility for the punishment doled out by CrossFit, to seek to explain himself, and to raise questions about recovery from a medical standpoint.

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