In an unexpected turn of events, Gilas Pilipinas’ Justin Brownlee has found himself embroiled in a doping scandal following the team’s triumphant gold medal win in men’s basketball at the 19th Asian Games.
The International Testing Agency (ITA) revealed that a urine sample collected from Brownlee returned an adverse analytical finding for carboxy-THC, a specified prohibited substance on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list, which is the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.
This shocking revelation came to light just a day after Gilas Pilipinas secured their historic gold medal victory over Jordan on October 6.
The team had fought valiantly throughout the tournament, and their win was heralded as a moment of pride for Team Pilipinas.
The semifinals had witnessed a remarkable comeback against China, with Brownlee’s heroics playing a crucial role in securing their place in the final.
The ITA disclosed that the sample was collected during an in-competition anti-doping control on October 7 – a day after the final, and was administered by the China Anti-Doping Agency.
Brownlee has been informed of the situation and has the right to request the analysis of the B-samples, as per standard protocol.
The case will then be referred to the Anti-Doping Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport for adjudication under the OCA Anti-Doping Rules, according to the ITA.
The ITA also raised concerns about Jordan’s Sami Bzai, whose sample returned a finding for dehydrochloromethyl-testosterone metabolite, a non-specified prohibited substance.
Regrettably, Brownlee’s case marks the second Filipino athlete to be flagged by the ITA during the Hangzhou Asian Games.
Cyclist Ariana Evangelista was previously suspended after erythropoietin was discovered in her blood and urine samples.