Gilas Pilipinas’ Justin Brownlee fails drug test after historic Asian Games gold

Gilas Pilipinas’ Justin Brownlee fails drug test after historic Asian Games gold
via Let It Fly Podcast
Ryan General
October 13, 2023
Justin Brownlee, the naturalized player behind Gilas Pilipinas’ historic gold medal in men’s basketball at the 19th Asian Games, has failed an anti-doping test conducted by the International Testing Agency (ITA). 
About the doping test: The ITA reported in a press release on Thursday that the test revealed the presence of carboxy-THC, a specified prohibited substance according to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list.
The sample was collected from Brownlee by the ITA on Oct. 7, a day after Gilas beat Jordan in the final. Meanwhile, Sami Bzai of silver medalist Jordan tested positive for dehydrochloromethyl-testosterone metabolite.
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About the substance: Carboxy-THC is a metabolite of THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis. Although some athletes use it for medicinal benefits, the substance remains on the list of prohibited substances in the Asian Games.
Cannabis use in elite athletics has become a subject of growing concern in recent years. Notable cases include American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson and Singaporean swimmer Joseph Schooling. Richardson, who tested positive for marijuana following the death of her mother, was barred from competing in the Tokyo Olympics. Schooling faced suspension after openly admitting to using cannabis while in Vietnam.
The fallout and legal proceedings: Brownlee, currently in the U.S., has been informed of the finding and holds the right to request an analysis of his B-sample, a secondary sample collected used to verify the accuracy of the initial test results. According to the World Anti-Doping Agency, this provides athletes with the opportunity to have a second analysis performed in the event their A sample returns an adverse analytical finding, essentially a “positive” result.
Following this, the case will be forwarded to the Anti-Doping Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport for adjudication under the OCA Anti-Doping Rules.
Addressing the allegation: The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, the national sports association for basketball in the Philippines, revealed that Brownlee had been using medication for injuries, possibly attributing the adverse result to this medical treatment. The 35-year-old athlete underwent surgery in August to remove bone spurs in his foot.
Meanwhile, Philippine Olympic Committee President Abraham Tolentino pointed out that the team’s victory will not be affected by the findings. According to the Anti-Doping Rule of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the gold medal won by Gilas Pilipinas is unlikely to be revoked unless two or more team members return adverse findings. 
Risks of suspension: Brownlee has been provisionally suspended and has until Oct. 19 to appeal the result. Should the B-sample also confirm the presence of carboxy-THC, Brownlee risks suspension from international competition for two years, potentially sidelining him until 2025.
Brownlee’s future with the PBA (Philippine Basketball Association) also remains uncertain as the league has yet to issue a statement on the matter.
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