Paralympic champion cleared of doping violation – after mix-up with his dog

A US Paralympian who had been enduring a ruff time has been told his woes are now over.

Roderick Townsend’s right to compete in the 2024 Paralympic Games was under severe threat after he tested positive for growth hormone stimulator capromorelin. The substance, which was found in his system in November, is forbidden by the World Anti-Doping Agency, as it causes the body to secrete growth hormones usually found in young adults and individuals going through puberty.

The revelation would have left him barking mad, having won gold medals at the Rio and Tokyo games. However, all of his treats have come at once as he has now been cleared of doping by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

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An investigation carried out by USADA revealed his adverse finding came as a result of his dog, who is now in doggy heaven. It’s understood the substance had entered Townsend’s system via a syringe he used to administer an appetite suppression prescription into his pooch.

He then decided to hold onto the syringe and eventually use it to give himself a liquid vitamin D supplement. USADA decided: “Townsend, through no fault of his own, inadvertently ingested capromorelin residue that was present in the syringe.

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The little puppy belonging to US Paralympian Roderick Townsend standing on a cardboard box
Unfortunately, the little pooch has passed away

“Administration data from a peer-reviewed published study confirms that exceedingly small amounts of orally-ingested capromorelin can cause a positive test consistent with the miniscule levels detected in Townsend’s sample.”

The doping body’s chief executive Travis Tygart also added: “With increasing detection and investigation capabilities, it’s our responsibility to ensure that we protect innocent athletes while holding accountable intentional cheaters.

Roderick Townsend of team United States of America celebrates during Men's High Jump T46 during day four of the Para Athletics World Championships Paris 2023 at Stade Charlety on July 11, 2023 in Paris, France.
Townsend will be a relieved man

“WADA rules require publication of no fault findings such as this to remain compliant with the rules. We will continue to fervently advocate to WADA that athletes shouldn’t be charged with violations or subjected to public scrutiny when they inadvertently come into contact with a prohibited substance and there is no effect on performance.”

Either way, it’s great news for the 31-year-old, who will now be able to take the lead for Team USA at the next Paralympics in Paris this summer.