8:16 Spanish Steeplechaser Dropped From 2012 Olympic Team Amid EPO/HGH Doping Probe

Months Ago The Spanish Federation Had Been Given An Email Exchange Allegedly Between Angel Mullera & Doping Doctor But Hadn't Acted On It Until Email Exchange Was Leaked To Press

By LetsRun.com
July 20, 2012

Think serious doping still doesn't go on in this day and age of EPO tests? Think again.

On Thursday, a local Spanish newspaper published excerpts from an exchange between an address in the name of 8:16 steeplechaser Angel Mullera and an unnamed doctor in which they discussed a possible EPO/growth hormone doping plan for this year when Mullera was at last year's world champs.

Today, a day later, Mullera was dropped from the Olympic team although according to Reuters, the Spanish athletics federation says he was dropped independent of the doping investigation:

    "This decision is independent of the possible opening of disciplinary proceedings and a suspension for failing to comply with our anti-doping regulations which...is being evaluated at the moment," the RFEA said in a statement."

Now why would the Spanish say they are dropping Mullera independent of the doping investigation? The Spanish are saying its for legal reasons. Another article that we looked at (translated from Spanish) said that the Spanish athletics federation itself had received the email exchange itself but felt they couldn't rely on it for disciplinary reasons:

    "Earlier this year we received an anonymous e-mail denouncing the case. The matter was turned over to legal counsel, as did the Sports Council, and in both cases saw no way to use this material for purposes disciplinary..."

    "It appears that an email is very easily manipulated and have no legal force. The only combat weapon in the hands of the Federation are doping controls, and Mullera has happened in seven months that Sandra Myers in his life," added the same sources."

Yet the day after the email exchange was leaked to the press, Mullera was suspended.

Was the Spanish federation really fearful of legal repercussions or were they just trying to cover things up and avoid the bad publicity as has been so often the case in sport throughout the years? Hopefully, we'll find out soon.

The supposed email exchange between Mullera and the doctor is pretty damning if it can be authenticated. A translation of a German newspaper's account of the email exchange is hard to stomach for anti-dopers:

    - In early June I will be in a sensible form, (Mullera) writes with the intention of the European Championships in Helsinki, where he had to sign off with an injury. Soon he will be more concrete about epo-drug Mircera.

    - Two weeks before the first competition, I will stop Mircera, right? But if I now being tested, what happens then, says the worried questions.

    The coach is not nervous.

    - It would be wise if you want to achieve more speed, starting with growth hormone Saizen, which can not be traced. I have some Spanish canoeists who use it for important competitions ... (...), Two months before anything Mircera.

    - 50 IU per. kg three times a week before the Dynepo and glutamine to remove traces of EPO. You should have no trouble with the doping control, writing coach, providing Mullera great thing in prospect.

For more information, there is a LetsRun.com messageboard thread on this whole affair which was started on Thursday which is full of good information. MB: Spanish steeplechaser's leaked EPO discussion / doping plan for 2012 . Additionally, we just found the English version of the Spanish paper El Pais has a nice article on the affair as well: Spanish steeplechaser stumbles into doping investigation. In the El Pais article, the newspaper includes an excerpt from the email exchange where the anonymous doctor talks about how much of a difference drugs can help:

    “An athlete who takes growth hormone can improve his sprint ability by four or five percent and thus potentially go from last to first place on the Olympic podium — and studies have been done on this, it is not made up. In reality, at first we will look to run faster; we will look for the endurance with dynepo, ok? A four-percent increase over 10 seconds, is four tenths, which is an important time lapse — that is what I am putting down.”

Separately, the fourth place finisher at the European champs in the steeple, Nour-Eddine Gezzar, has been suspended for an EPO positive. Gezzar is a previous doper as in 2006 he was ousted for testing positive for nandrolone and finasteride.

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