Disgraced Omani athlete reveals why he took banned drug
January 8, 2018 | 9:45 PM
by Times News Service
Ahmed bin Mubarak bin Saleh Al Saadi, 29, who competes for Oman in track and field, tested positive for a banned drug, named Stanozolol, during the 11th GCC Games which were held in Saudi Arabia in April 2017.

Muscat: The Omani athlete slapped with a four-year ban by Oman’s Olympic Committee for taking a banned substance has revealed why the drug was in his system in the first place.

Read here: Oman’s Ahmed Al Saadi banned for four years

Ahmed bin Mubarak bin Saleh Al Saadi, 29, who competes for Oman in track and field, tested positive for a banned drug, named Stanozolol, during the 11th GCC Games which were held in Saudi Arabia in April 2017. However, Al Saadi claims the drug was injected for a leg injury he sustained while training in Dubai just six days before the GCC Games opened.

Training camp

“We were in a training camp in Dubai two weeks before the Gulf tournament in Saudi Arabia, and during that camp, we participated in an open competition in Dubai to prepare for it,” revealed Al Saadi, speaking exclusively to the Times of Oman. “During that event, I was injured, almost six days before the tournament.

“When my companions and I were walking around, I saw a clinic and I went in for treatment,” he added.

“The doctor gave me an injection, because I did not have a lot of time before the GCC tournament and I wanted to participate in it and raise the flag of Oman on the podium.”

Al Saadi admitted he did not know what was in the injection administered to him.

“I did not know what kind of stimulant was in the needle, but the majority of the injections used to treat the athletes have a proportionate amount of the drug,” he said.

“My failing the doping tests was possible, but I was unsure so I decided to go ahead and participate anyway. I bear the result of this failure. If I could have gone back in time, I would have pulled out of the tournament to not risk my career through the possibility of failing this doping test, which has ended my sporting reputation.”

“The Olympic committee was not aware of my treatment, because I am usually treated externally on my own account,” added Al Saadi.

“The decision has shocked me, and all the media have published this news without recognising my side of the story and forgetting to mention by previous achievements. My mistake happened unintentionally. The Olympic Committee knows these details and it was not done deliberately. But the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) does not care about the case backgrounds.”

Although Al Saadi does have the right to appeal the ban, he says he cannot afford the travel expenses incurred in going to WADA headquarters in Canada to fight his case.

“I have given up my right to conduct another examination because I will be responsible for the travel and hostel costs and the results are not guaranteed to be on my side, and I cannot afford these expenses,” he said.

“Locally I was ranked first among the Omani runners. This is not the first time I have represented Oman. I’ve been a national team player since 2012 and I have always passed the doping tests.

“During my time with Oman, I have won three Asian bronze medals, and have won a number of Gulf tournaments,” added Al Saadi.

But even if the ban is lifted, Ahmed thinks it is unlikely he will return to competing for the Sultanate.

“I do not think I will return to participate for Oman, even if the suspensions are lifted,” said Al Saadi, speaking with sadness and anger. “I have not received any appreciation and support after all the efforts I’ve made during my career to raise the name of the Sultanate, and because of an unintended mistake everyone has forgotten all I’ve done, and says that my successes were only due to steroids.

“I advise young fans of sports not to do what I did because a simple mistake can end your career,” he added. “I am sorry that all the years I spent with the national team had to end this way. I always felt proud when I raised the flag of the Sultanate high among the countries of the world, sometimes among more than 100 competitive players, and encouraged the masses in tournaments.”

“I took very serious efforts to develop myself and to make my family and my people happy in Oman. This decision has been a painful blow to me. The media’s publication of the decision without asking about the reasons behind it is truly hurtful, and Times of Oman is the only one who has asked me,” said Al Saadi “I hope that my case will be a lesson that other athletes do not repeat. My achievements came after much struggle and great effort and my downfall happened very badly and quickly.”

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