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DNA test complicates Rebeca Gusmao's situation
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12:31, November 11, 2007

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The doping charges against Brazilian's swimming star Rebeca Gusmao is becoming more complicated now.

The accusations against the 23 year old, owner of four medals in the Pan-American Games of Rio de Janeiro in July of this year, also bring to light the lack of efficiency of the testing systems used throughout the games.

According to an official letter from the Brazilian Confederation of Aquatic Sports (CBDA), the DNA tests show that the swimmer's urine sample indicated that more than one person had given the samples.

In practice, the athlete did not commit fraud. The fraud, or error, was committed during the collection process of the laboratory.

This hypothesis would smudge the image of the games that were coined as "history's cleanest games," by the Pan-American Sport Organization (Odepa) at the end of the event.

The tests were administered by Ladetec, the only laboratory in Brazil certified by the International Olympic Committee.

"As personally responsible for the dope tests during the Pan-American Games, I assure you that all the international standards were followed," said Eduardo De Rose, coordinator of the tests in Rio and member of the Odepa Medical Commission.

It was De Rose who required, following orders from the CBDA, that Gusmao's urine tests go through DNA examinations.

The tests were administered by the Sonda Laboratory, which just like Ladetec Laboratory, is linked to The Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ).

According to the specialists Franklin Rumjanek and Concy Caldeira, "the samples belong to two different people".

These results were taken in two of the four units of urine collected from Rebeca during the Pan-American Games. The swimmer went through a series of tests organized by Odepa.

The manipulation of the urine samples brings up new accusations against Gusmao who is charged of failing a drug test supervised by International Swimming Federation (FINA), on the 13th of July.

"There are indications of fraud. It is important to verify if there was an error in the collection of the sample, or if the athlete committed fraud. If there was an intention of cheating, then it is considered doping," said the lawyer Thomas Mattos de Paiva, specialist in anti-doping legislation.

The news of a dual sample of urine from Rebeca caused the president of the CBDA, Coaracy Nunes, to be surprised. "No one could discredit her until something concrete developed, like there has now. This complicates even more the athlete's situation," the president commented.

In the same letter, the CBDA announced that Renata Castro, medical director of the confederation, had asked to leave the institution for personal reasons.

Renata was the main supervisor of the anti-doping drug tests of the Pan-American Games, first assistant to De Rose.

"She contacted me last night (Wednesday). She told me that she was really upset and restless. She asked to be released from her duties and said she was going to travel," said Coaracy.

Renata was going to participate in analyzing the B sample of Rebeca's test required by FINA. The initial test detected high levels of testosterone, a hormone that can be used to increases muscle mass. The analysis also showed that the substance was exogenous (it was ingested). "We are still looking for another person," said Rebeca's manager.

On Thursday, for the first time, the athlete's lawyers Bruno Tannuri and Andre Ribeiro broke their silence by way of an official communication asking for the press' collaboration in aiding the athlete escape from this condemnation.

They proclaimed: "We understand that this case is complex and involves sporting and private interests from large institutions and companies. The only chance that the athlete has of reversing this situation is with the help of the Brazilian media."

The athlete decided not to talk about her case until her lawyers have completed their defensive strategy.

Rebeca also faces charges of failing a dope test in May of 2006.This case is currently going through the CAS (Sport Arbitrary Court), in Lausanne, and should conclude at the end of this year.

If she is found guilty in any two of the cases, she will be banned from the sport. The swimmer also could lose the four medals(two gold, one silver and one bronze), won at Pan-American Games in Rio and also have all her records and results annulled.

Should that happen, it will affect the classification of the Brazilian 4X100m freestyle team in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Also on Thursday, De Rose announced that he was going to finish the report on the Pan-American Games. The document will be sent to Odepa, whose executive committee will express their opinion on the subject next week.

Supposedly, there have been three other unofficial cases of doping during the games: the Brazilian Fabricio Maffra (weight lifter), the Colombian Libardo Nino (cycling) and the Nicaraguan Pedro Wilder (baseball).

Even if Rebeca and Mafra lose their medals, it will not alter Brazil's third place standing in the Pan-American Games. First place belongs to the USA and second to Cuba.

Source: Xinhua

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