Banned for four years for doping rule breach – it looks all over for top Hong Kong triathlete Ivan Lo

Promising athlete punished after refusing to ‘submit to a sample collection’ in out-of-competition test last May

PUBLISHED : Friday, 01 January, 2016, 11:56pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 02 January, 2016, 1:19am

Top triathlete Ivan Lo Ching-hin’s promising career appears to be over after he was found guilty of breaching doping rules and was suspended for four years, the Hong Kong Anti-Doping Committee announced yesterday.

The 26-year-old, who represented Hong Kong at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games in South Korea, will be ineligible to participate in any capacity with any sport affiliated to the Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong or organisations regulated by the world anti-doping code.

Any athlete found guilty of doping will receive a minimum four-year ban which could easily end their career
A source close to the HK Anti-Doping Committee

The committee said on its website that Lo, who finished fourth in the mixed relay with three other team members in Incheon, had been hit with a four-year sanction for an anti-doping rule violation after losing his appeal case.

First-time offenders receive a two-year ban but the World Anti-Doping Agency increased the penalty to four years last year.

“The violation occurred during an out-of-competition doping control on May 12, 2015 where the athlete refused to submit to a sample collection,” the committee said. “Lo then exercised his right to attend and testify at a hearing in response to HKADC’s assertion of anti-doping rule violations.

“The committee’s disciplinary panel had carefully considered the case and Lo was found guilty of violating the HKADC anti-doping rules due to his refusal to submit to a sample collection without compelling justification.”

The triathlete subsequently appealed to a HKADC appeal panel and attended a hearing in August, but it was believed the panel was not constitutional.

The committee then set up another appeal panel and a second hearing was conducted in November.

The decision of the disciplinary panel was upheld by the appeal panel.

Lo’s period of ineligibility is from May 26, 2015 to May 25, 2019.

Lo has kept a low profile since urging the Hong Kong Triathlon Association in April to have an “improved athletes’ selection policy” after the sport was demoted to “tier B” status at the Hong Kong Sports Institute as a result of falling standards.

He is still on the HKSI elite training grant recipients’ list with an elite B plus category, but the institute will withdraw its financial support, which can reach HK$20,000 a month, now that he is banned.

A source close to the HKADC said athletes had been warned of heavier punishment for such offenders.

“Any athlete found guilty of doping will receive a minimum four-year ban which could easily end their career,” said the source.