Gonzalo Calisto releases #EPO #UTMB Statement (English Version)

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One week ago, the mountain, ultra and trail running world found out that Gonzalo Calisto tested positive after placing 5th at the 2015 UTMB. If you are coming to this new, may I suggest you read my posts in order as listed below as they will provide information and also chronologically provide an insight into my investigations.

Post 1 HERE

Post 2 Michel Poletti HERE

Post 3 IAAF HERE

Post 4 Update IAAF and Catherine Poletti HERE

 

Gonzalo Calisto has now released a statement via his Facebook page in Spanish and I have had a translation done. Please keep in mind that a translation may lose some of the uniqueness of the original, however, I do feel that what we have below provides an excellent insight.

As with all posts relating to this matter, I welcome your feedback.

Gonzalo introduces this by saying:

Thank you all for your support, I’ve taken a few days to be able to collect all this information and share it with you.
We will continue with the head held high, we’ll see you soon in the mountains!!!

I’m not a professional runner. I’m an amateur, with dreams which mantain my passion for adventure. Plainly, experiences in nature are my day-to-day targets, for every train and every run. I have never ran for prizes, or medal or recognizement, least of all for money. During these 13 years full of adventures I have filled my spirit with livings and learnings, and I have had the luck to share them with lots of generations of adventurers on lots of countries. During these years, I have witnessed exponential grow of trailrunning all over the world, and today trailrunning has lots of fans on my country on lots of running events.
Physiology: I have always been fascinated for the mountains, specially for the tall ones. I learnt to run there, to go up and down, walking and running, pushing myself and learning how the nature and strenght of the mountains fills our body and spirit. Ecuador, due to its geographical situation – Quito its capital 3000m above sea level – mountains with different heights and terraings and even different weather. Due to this, it is a privileged playground to train and go outdoors. Sport events are usually run on mountain and in zones, which go fron 3000 to 4500m+. Our bodies adapt to the high altitude and our blood is dense, which allows oxigenation. This process does not happen on sea level, and this training in altitude is scientifically known and used by lots of athletes to improve performance. It is called ‘altitude training’ and it’s a natural process. Legal At a country level, in Ecuador Trail running is not registered as a sport. No federation guides it, and it is not regulated by any ministery or govenrnment agency. Every trailrun event is private, and there are no licenses to ‘legally’ compete nor standarised rules. At an international level, Trail running is availed by the different athletic federations on the diferent countries, and runners have a local ranking to run on some important events. So, inside this called ‘elite’ they got licenses granted by their respective federations. These licenses somehow guarantee sport protocols between runners and sport event organizations.
IAAF is the organization which handles rules on elite athletics at a world level. IAAF runs an world ultratrail championship, but does not avail more trail events, as they are not considered ‘big events’ such as olimpic or panamerican games. This way, UTMB is not on their list.
AFLD: The French Agency against doping is the organization who takes care of doping on sport events on France.
ITRA: The Internationan Association of Trail Running, is an organization wich mantains a ranking based on an index generated based on the performance of a given athlete in different runs.
EPO: The eritropoyetin hormone, is an hormone which makes blood dense. It is naturally generated on hypoxic conditions, such as high altitude..
UTMB: UTMB is the most prestigious long-distance trailrun, which goes arond the Mont-Blanc. It is a private event, with no prices in money, which gathers 2500 runners from all around the world. 300 of them are ‘elite’ or ‘professional’. UTMB has its own ranking, based on the points gained for the participants in different sport events which UTMB avails.
CASE: During the UTMB I went on a doping control, before the depart and another after the run. This test marked positive, showing presence of EPO, but without specifying which kind of EPO was found, nor the EPO levels.
AFLD was the one who ran these tests and the one who reported the case to the IAAF.
I asked for the analysis, but I could never review the exact results. Altough IAAF regulates professional sport they have make public the results obtained.
However, they have not considered that I am not a professional athlete. I don’t have a license and I don’t belong to any federation, so the have no jurisdiction on ‘punishing’ me.
UTMB organisation had no knowledge on this case until it was public on social networks. This shows also the lack of coordination between these two organizations.
Positive test should be analized in the ‘B’ take to ratificate EPO presence. This second test should ratificate the first positive and its levels or mark the first test as a false positive. This second test is usually done upon solicitation from the federation which the athlete belongs to, which is usually the one who extends the license to the athlete. In my case, as I don’t have a license, UTMB should make me firm a provisional license to allow me to participate with the ‘elite’ ones. I never firmed that document. Besides, they should make sure that I got all the information and knowledge about all the ‘elite’ protocols; information that never was told to me.
In this case, I was without legal support from any ferederation or government; and to go agains the positive I should take all expenses on myself. These expenses are above my resources, as I’m a person from Ecuador against an international French agency.
With all these I want to point out that legal resources that have judged and sentenced me are not enough, as they lack of the ‘bases’ to coordinate events, regulators and rules to apply to non-professional athletes. We amateurs take the expenses on ourselves without no federation. So, I can’t use my right to defend myself, rigth that every juridic rule on the world has and I cannot use. To end In my country, we the ecuator runners must ask our Ecuator Running Federation to register trailrunning as a sport, to grant licenses to high-level runners who want to take part on international events and support and avail the main running events in Ecuador. Also, the Ecuatorian federation should take care also of the andti-doping tasks and generate a runners ranking at an international level, we must estabish compatible parameters between international event organizers and the federations; improve the information and make sure that the athletes know the category where they are going to run, and to make sure that they know the anti-pogind rules applicable.
I’m with the anti-doping. I like clean game and I have never intentionally used anything to artificially improve my performance. But we must be coherent with runner’s real life, specially on countries where these sports have no international rules, and work to create a clear and safe platform to run high performance sports on.
I wonder, are the anti-doping tests really fit? do they take into account genetic trace of the runners (feeding, origin, training) before publishing results?
Is it OK to judge a non-professional runner, which does not make a living with trailrunning the same way we do with a professional?
Is it OK to run anti-doping tests without the legal coverage for non-licensed runners which will have difficults to claim their rights?
Conclusion:
I’m probably the first case on this. I’m not a professional. I don’t have a license. I live and train between 3000 and 5000 masl. I have dense blood. I got a top-5 on an international running event with professional runners from all Europe which clearly know the rules. I came to the UTMB controls without the complete knowledge of high competition protocols. I have no license and no legal support fom a federation and I consider that methods used on me are not equity, transparent and impartial. There are other sports -such as the IronMan series- where they take into account the runner condition (amateur or professional) to skip these kind of polemic situation due to the lack of legal support and information on the professional protocols.
Questions
Why my case was reported by the IAAD and the UTMB organization had no idea on what was going on?
Why the rules from IAAF, AFLD and UTMB are not compatible with the positive anti-doping test from an amateur runner?
Under which authority IAAF punished me for 2 years?
I’m not a federated runner. Why the UTMB does not have a professional runner list?
Why UTMB is not registered with the IAAF avail?
Why they let me run without a federative license in a category where they are going to do controls which need this license?
I want my case to clarify and modify the trailrunning world rules.
*******
We welcome your feedback on this post?
  • For me, it raises many question marks and the most important is the fact that Gonzalo tested positive in August 2015. The AFLD/IAAF confirmed a ban in March 2016 and then this was published on the IAAF website in June.
  • Gonzalo Calisto will have known about this positive test for sometime and chose to do nothing! The above statement has come about because his positive test has been made public.
  • We still have no news from his sponsors, Movistar and Compressport.
  • Amateur or professional, rules are rules and doping is doping!
  • Gonzalo Calisto has raced since UTMB and July 2016 and gained results, why have these races not made a statement and why have they not disqualified him?

Many more questions will come….

NEWS UPDATE – IAAF response and UTMB® response re EPO

Many questions have been asked about my initial post (HERE) re the positive EPO case with Gonzalo Calisto at the 2015 UTMB®.

Gladly, UTMB® responded very quickly and issued a disqualification and removal of Gonzalo Calisto from the 2015 UTMB® ranking. It is clearly explained in the press release HERE

Last night I posted a response from Michel Poletti (HERE) when I asked some specific questions. The response from Michel Poletti did make me ask additional questions and today I received a response and clarification from Catherine Poletti.

1. Why are you not informed of a positive test?
Only the “testing authority” responsible for the legal treatment of the results are able to communicate about a period of suspension; the organiser, no more than any other structure, doesn’t have to be informed directly about a positive control during their event.

2. Which authority took the test and on who’s authority?

Once again, the organiser does not have access to this information. The “testing authority”  (= the structure which asks the organisation for the control and thus which is in charge of the legal treatment of the results) is mentioned in the mission order. This information is therefore only known by the doctor taking the sample, and by the athlete himself. In this precise case the ‘testing authority” maybe the country’s National Anti-Doping Agency(AFLD for France), an international federation, the Anti-doping World Agency, or another National Anti-doping Organisation (NADO).

3. Who does Gonzalo Calisto approach to review the test?

Again, it is the classic procedure for an anti-doping test. The laboratory responsible for the analysis of the samples is unknown by the Organiser.

4. Under who’s authority is Gonzalo Calisto suspended from racing?

Under the authority of the IAAF. The jurisprudence says that an athlete suspended by an international federation cannot participate in any other event under the aegis of another international federation. For exemple, Armstrong who was suspended by the ICU was unable to participate in the Ironman circuit which is none the less a private circuit.

Obviously this does raise some questions and it goes back to my post this morning when the IAAF replied to my questions HERE. I say it again, It’s time to lobby for a change and YOU as runners, followers of the sport or whatever capacity you have as a fan need to ensure that we all act now and make sure that the following happens:

  1. Positive tests are confirmed to the athlete asap
  2. Due process is allowed for a B sample
  3. The race, race director and management team are notified immediately
  4. A press release is issued by the race and or organisation
  5. IAAF, WADA, AFLD and so on list and make results public asap

I did also ask the question as to why Gonzalo Calisto is only banned till March 2017 as shown here:

screenshot_23

Apparently, the IAAF have confirmed that this is a mistake. “It appears that this is a typo as it was transcribed from the official memo…. The correct start date is March 2016 (with end date in March 2018).  The athlete will have also had any results from the day of the test through to March disqualified as well.”

The IAAF have also confirmed some of the issues as to why the UTMB® was not notified of the positive test: “The main issue seems to have been the non-notification of the event organiser at which the test occurred.  We will follow up with AFLD on that matter.”

Finally, many have asked why it has taken so long (August 2015 – March 2016) for Calisto to be banned and confirmed for EPO doping?

As much as we would like quick results and management processes, unfortunately this is not always the case.  This is especially so when dealing with athletes from countries (in this scenario Ecuador) the relevant authorities may have very limited experience in dealing with the results management for a case such as this. Doping related cases are quite often lengthier than the general public would expect as athletes choose to exercise their rights to various hearings and appeal options.  While this may seem protracted, athletes do and should have their rights protected to ensure this process is fair and subject to appeal.

At this stage it would be good to hear from Gonzalo Calisto and find out his version of events and his thoughts in regard to the positive test and if he feels the process has been correct.