news story last weekend, Irish Marathon runner Martin Fagan was as expected, suspended on Tuesday for two years by Athletics Ireland after he admitted using banned performance-enhancing drugs. The 28-year-old from Mullingar tested positve for the blood-boosting drug erythropoietin (EPO).during an out-of-competition test at his training base in the United States last month. He admitted at a hearing in Dublin that he had bought EPO on the internet and administered it himself ahead of a planned appearance at last weekend's Houston Marathon last Sunday (January 15).
Athletics Ireland and the Irish Sports Council made the following announcement...."The Irish Sport Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel has determined that Martin Fagan, an athlete affiliated to Athletics Ireland, has committed an anti-doping rule violation. The Panel found that, contrary to Article 2.1 of the Irish Anti-Doping Rules, Mr Fagan, tested positive for the presence of a prohibited substance or its metabolite or marker, recombinant erythropoietin, in a sample of his urine collected on behalf of the Irish Sports Council during out of competition testing at Tucson, Arizona on the 10th December 2011. Mr Fagan has been sanctioned, subject to his right to appeal within 14 days, by the imposition on him of a period of ineligibility for two years. The Panel has decided that because of the prompt admission of the violation by Mr Fagan the appropriate commencement date for the period of ineligibility is 10th December 2011, the date on which the sample was collected."
Ian O'Riordan of the Irish Times has a piece about it HERE
Cliona Foley of the Irish Independent has a more critical article HERE
Since this story broke last weekend, there has been a lot of reaction to it on various websites. Some people have been sympathetic to Martin Fagan and his fight with depression, some have been outrightly hostile to him over his taking of EPO while others believe perhaps naively that he will serve the two year ban and all will be well again.
Once an athlete takes a performance-enhancing drug, they have crossed the Rubicon, there is no turning back. The ban might be for two years but the damage is permanent. I would suspect that if you were to talk privately to the powers that be within Athletics Ireland or the Irish Sports Council, they would probably say that they genuinely wish Martin Fagan all the best for the future, that he gets help and gets his personal life sorted out. However when it comes to athletics, they would hope that he would retire from the sport and fade away.