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USADA finds Olympian Brenda Martinez not at fault for positive drug test

Olympic middle distance runner Brenda Martinez will not face suspension after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency determined a recent positive drug test was the result of her ingesting a prohibited substance without “fault or negligence,” USADA announced Monday.

Martinez, World Championships silver medalist at 800 meters, tested positive for hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) as the result of an out-of-competition urine sample she provided on September 10, 2020, according to USADA.  The drug is listed as a “Specified Substance”  in the class of diuretics and masking agents and is prohibited at all times under the anti-doping rules for USADA, U.S. Olympic and Paralympic and World Athletics, the sport’s worldwide governing body, and the World Anti-Doping Agency.

But Martinez, 33, provided USADA investigators records of a permitted “oral prescription medication that she was taking at the time of her positive test,” USADA said.

“This permitted medication, which Martinez takes at the direction of a physician, did not list HCTZ or any other prohibited substances on the label. However, detailed laboratory analysis subsequently conducted on multiple tablets of the athlete’s medication confirmed HCTZ contamination at a level consistent with Martinez’s positive test,” USADA said in a statement.

“This is our sixth no-fault case in just one year, meaning that yet another athlete has been unjustly charged with a violation and publicly recognized for ingesting a prohibited substance from a completely innocent source, such as contaminated medication, meat, or water, and despite there being no effect on performance,” said Travis T. Tygart, Chief Executive Officer of USADA. “USADA strongly objects to this requirement under the rules and will continue to urge WADA to reform the system to be fairer for athletes.”

Martinez did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

After attending Rancho Cucamonga High School, Martinez was an NCAA runner-up at 1,500 meters for UC Riverside. She finished third in the 800 at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow. She was later upgraded to second after Russia’s Mariya Savinova was stripped of the silver medal for a doping violation.

Martinez qualified for the 2016 Olympic Games at 1,500 meters, reaching the semi-finals. Martinez lives and trains in Big Bear.

Source: Orange County Register

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