Two-month suspension for Norwegian skier Johaug over doping

Norwegian cross-country ski star Therese Johaug has been suspended from competition for two months after failing a doping test after using a cream to treat sunburnt lips, Norway's anti-doping agency said Wednesday.

Johaug said the decision was a blow, but added she was "focused on what is most important, to clear my name."

She said in a statement she hoped for a "speedy process."

Her lawyer Christian B Hjort said she would not appeal the suspension, news agency NTB reported.

The suspension - which also bans Johaug from taking part in training camps - was to be in effect until December 18, pending an investigation and possible sentence into the offence, the agency said in a statement.

Issuing the suspension, the agency concluded that the seven-time world champion had not acted without guilt.

Athletes are obliged to check what substances they use and "in this case we mean she should have conducted that check better," said Anstein Gjengedal, director for the anti-doping agency's Prosecution Committee.

If the agency's probe is not completed during the current suspension period the suspension could be extended, he told broadcaster NRK.

Johaug, 28, has three Olympic medals including relay gold from 2010 and is the reigning World Cup champion. Her suspension means she will miss the new season opening next month.

Last week, the star made a tearful appearance at a televised news conference to say she was "completely devastated" by the test but maintained "I have zero guilt in what has happened."

The out-of-competition test was conducted September 16 and Johaug was informed of the result on October 4 by the anti-doping agency.

She used the cream Trofodermin on the instruction of the Norwegian team doctor after taking part in a high-altitude training session in Italy at the end of August, the Norwegian Ski Federation said.

The cream contained the banned substance clostebol.

The anti-doping agency added it had opened a case into former Norwegian team doctor Fredrik Bendiksen, who acquired the cream at an Italian pharmacy. He resigned with immediate effect last week.

He has said he had "no good explanation" for failing to spot it contained the synthetic androgenic steroid which can enhance physical performance.

It was not clear what repercussions Bendiksen could face.

The ski federation Wednesday meanwhile announced a raft of  measures to avoid a repeat of the incident, naming Trondheim-based physician Petter Olberg as new team doctor.

One of the measures was that medication purchased abroad must be checked and approved by a physician in Norway, Team Norway director Vidar Lofshus said.

All skiers - from the elite to junior level as well as their trainers - were to take the anti-doping agency's online education programme Real Winner, and all vitamins, minerals and other supplements used by athletes were to be checked.

Last update: Wed, 19/10/2016 - 15:33

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