CAS 2020/A/7510 Daniel Kinyua Wanjiru v. World Athletics
World Athletics 2020 WA vs Daniel Kinyua Wanjiru
October 8, 2020
In April 2020 the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) of the IAAF (now: World Athletics) reported an anti-doping rule violation against the Kenyan Athlete Daniel Kinyua Wanjiru after an AIU Expert Panel concluded unanimously in September 2019 in their Joint Expert Opinion that the Athlete’s hematological profile “highly likely” showed that he used a prohibited substance or a prohibited method: the use of EPO or Blood doping.
After notification the Athlete submitted several explanations and objections to the AIU about the circumstances surrounding the collected samples. However after consideration the Expert Panel rejected the Athlete’s explanations and objections in their 2nd (March 2020), 3rd (June 2020) and 4th (August 2020) joint report. A provisional suspension was ordered and the Athlete was heard for the World Athletics Disciplinary Tribunal.
Based on the formidable scientific evidence the Disciplinary Tribunal Panel was comfortably satisfied that the AIU has discharged its burden that blood manipulation is the irresistible explanation for the abnormal HB and OFF-score values in sample 14 in the Athlete’s ABP. The Panel deemed that the AIU and the Expert Panel established that the presented doping scenario caused the abnormalities in the Athlete’s ABP and that the Athlete committed an anti-doping rule violation.
Consequently the Disciplinary Tribunal decided on 8 October 2020 to impose a 4 year period of ineligibility on the Athlete starting on the date of the provisional suspension.
Hereafter in November 2020 the Athlete appealed the Decision with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
World Athletics relied on the Joint Expert Reports submitted by the Expert Panel and the subsequent opinions they have provided in addition to their testimony during the hearing; it contended that there is no pathological or physiological explanation for the HGB value in Sample 14.
The principal abnormality in the Athlete’s passport – the extraordinarily high HGB value of 19.4 g/dL in Sample 14 – is a concentration so high that it would according to Prof. d’Onofrio represent a serious danger to the Athlete’s health, including the risk of thrombosis.
The Athlete’s case had evolved considerably as time has passed and he has consulted different experts who have considered the likelihood of there being innocent explanations for the adverse passport finding.
The Athlete submited that this case is about one single suspect HGB value in sample 14 and that one suspect ABP value is in itself insufficient to prove an anti-doping rule violation.
The Athlete argued that World Athletics must put the value in sample 14 in some context and present a credible doping scenario; and the case against him must be dismissed if World Athletics fails to do so even if the Panel was to find the Athlete’s explanation of inadequate mixing unlikely.
the Panel finds that the ABP is a reliable means that may assist in establishing an anti-doping rule violation, and although not definitive, it is highly convincing when supported by Joint Expert Reports such as those presented in this case.
The Panel finds that WA and the experts have provided plausible scenarios, consistent with scientific literature, which support the finding that the Athlete did transfuse himself, most likely on 7 or 8 March 2019.
In sum, considering (i) the values detected in Sample 14 of the Athlete’s ABP were highly abnormal and indicated a high probability of doping; (ii) the absence of any indication of improper handling of the Sample or failures to follow the laboratory protocol and (iii) the absence of contradictory evidence (i.e. that the Athlete has not provided any objective, physiological or pathological reason or condition to explain the abnormality in the ABP values); the Panel is comfortably satisfied that the abnormal ABP values were caused by a transfusion.
Therefore the Court of Arbitration for Sport decides on 1 February 2022 that:
- The appeal filed by Mr Daniel Kinyua Wanjiru on 9 November 2020 against the decision rendered by the World Athletics Disciplinary Tribunal on 8 October 2020 is dismissed.
- This Award is made without costs, except for the Court Office fee of CHF 1,000 paid by Mr Daniel Kinyua Wanjiru, which is retained by CAS.
- Mr Daniel Kinyua Wanjiru is ordered to pay World Athletics a contribution of CHF 2,000 (two thousand Swiss Francs) towards its legal fees and other expenses incurred in connection with these proceedings.
- All other and further applications for relief are dismissed.