Irish boxer suspended ahead of Olympics for allegedly failing drug test

Michael O'Reilly
Michael O'Reilly

IRISH boxer Michael O'Reilly has been suspended after allegedly failing a drug test on the eve of the Olympics in Rio.

In a devastating blow to the Irish team, it emerged earlier today that the middleweight had an "alleged violation" of a test that was taken in Ireland before the team left for Brazil.

The A sample turned up positive, and the boxer has been informed.

It is understood that Sport Ireland got the positive test result last night.

O'Reilly, from Portlaoise in Laois, will have the right to appeal the result by having the B sample tested.

He has been provisionally suspended, and the news is a huge blow to the Irish team and especially the boxing contingent at the games.

He received a bye in the boxing draw earlier today - and was due to fight on Sunday 12 August.

"The Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) has been notified by Sport Ireland today of an alleged violation of the Irish Anti-doping Rules committed by one of the boxers in our High Performance Unit," the Irish Athletic Boxing Association said in a statement.

"In following the strict procedures applying to an adverse analytical finding, the athlete in question has been informed and is provisionally suspended. The boxer can request to have  a “B” sample tested but cannot participate in any competition or activity prior to the completion of an investigation under Article 8 of the Irish Anti-doping Rules.

"The Irish Athletic Boxing Association has always maintained a zero tolerance approach to doping and Irish Boxing has been one of the most widely tested sports by the National Anti-Doping Programme over the last number of years.

"IABA’s policy is that doping is contrary to the spirit of sport and every member of the association has a duty to ensure that the sport is free of doping. We ensure our boxers are available for testing in and out of competition.

"The Irish Athletic Boxing Association will not be in a position to comment further until all elements of due process associated with the anti-doping programme are completed in this case."

O'Reilly was tipped for a medal by Sports Illustrated magazine earlier this week.

He was the eighth Irish boxer to qualify for the Rio Olympics.

A bronze medallist at the World championships in Doha last autumn, he was unlucky not to secure his Olympic place at the tournament – he controversially lost a third place play-off.

However, he put that disappointment behind him and qualified through a tournament in Baku in June.

The Olympic Council of Ireland have released the following statement:

"The Olympic Council of Ireland can confirm that the Sport Ireland Anti-Doping Agency has returned an adverse analytical finding in an A-sample provided to anti-doping officers.

"The finding relates to a test not conducted at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The athlete has been provisionally suspended from competition and can take part in no sports activity, including training, in accordance with the WADA Code.

"The athlete will now decide whether to accept a sanction for a doping violation, to request that a B-sample be tested, or to appeal the provisional suspension.

"No further communication will be made on the matter and the athlete’s identity will remain confidential unless the sanction is accepted or the B-sample is tested and also returns an adverse analytical finding."