SA sprinter Carina Horn vows to clear name of doping, questions testing process

In an exclusive interview with EWN Sport, Horn denied taking the banned substances, saying she was not guilty of any wrongdoing and together with her legal team were trying to find out what happened, as things occurred so fast.

FILE: South African sprinter Carina Horn. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - South African sprinter and national record holder Carina Horn has vowed to clear her name through legal channels after she was provisionally suspended for the alleged use of a banned substance.

In September, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF)’s athletics integrity unit confirmed the provisional suspension of Horn.

According to the unit, there was the presence of prohibited substances, Ibutamoren and LGD-4033, in her system.

In an exclusive interview with EWN Sport, Horn denied taking the banned substances, saying she was not guilty of any wrongdoing and together with her legal team were trying to find out what happened, as things occurred so fast.

Horn did not compete at the IAAF World Championships in Doha last month and something she described as "heartbreaking" and "bad", claiming the alleged doping as "false accusations and personal attacks" against her.

Ibutamoren has muscle-building properties and is available over the counter and used by those wishing to increase their growth hormone levels.

LGD-4033, which is prohibited under class S1.2 Other Anabolic Agents on the WADA prohibited list, is a selective androgen receptor modulator (SARM). According to it is currently being investigated as a pharmaceutical treatment for muscle wasting and weakness associated with aging. It has also not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for clinical use in humans.

Horn believed that none of what happened made sense and she's trying to figure everything out while fighting the suspension.

"What I find strange, [is that] none of the integrity unit, or my federation or no one made contact with me except an investigator. I received a call on 13 September and before that, exactly a week before I received a text message... first a call, then a text that threatens me," said Horn.

"The text said we are ruining your life and your career and its easy for us to say - you are very well known to the world and it's easy for us to ruin your life. But I know that was a very personal issue and I know who sent it but I can't say if it's connected to the doping story. I have a lawyer now to clear and fix this."

Upon announcing her suspension, the unit cautioned that some of their cases, including that of Horn, remained under investigation, while others were the subject of a notice of the charge and would also appear on the list of pending first instance cases.

Horn said that she did do a necessity test in Austria but did think a lot was going on that did not make sense.

"The other thing also... my B sample was opened without my knowledge or letting me know... so I don't know - there's a lot going on. For now, I'm still provisionally suspended. I've asked for an extension, I have 45 days until 7 November 2019 to prove my innocence and that is what I am busy with now," she said.

"Now I am going to get my supplements that I've used to be tested because in the middle of July I did some supplements before I went back to Europe again - that was the three weeks I was here in South Africa when I was on a diet to lose weight. So I'm still waiting [to see] if there was anything contaminated in that, then we will take it from there."

She has stressed that life off the track was hard.

"It's not the same that life can be ruined by people who got really personal and don't even know me - so it's not a great feeling to read and see what people are saying about me, without even knowing me. While staying in the institution in Austria, the unit sent its people to test us and in that process, there was some documentation that was never done right. These people came all the way from the Czech Republic - another thing that didn't make sense -I'm in Austria why should people come from the Czech Republic?" she asked.

Horn said that she had no proof of anything but she was trying to figure it our the legal way.

"I do have a lawyer from the United States of America to help me fight and figure things out. The thing is, if you are a professional athlete, you're not so stupid to do things like that in your season or whatever... so if I knew I was guilty, I wouldn't have opened the door to let people test me. I opened it because I knew I wasn't guilty of anything... if I was, I would've let my dad know and we don't let them in," said the SA record holder.

In doping cases, a provisional suspension is mandatory under the IAAF anti-doping rules following an adverse analytical finding for any non-specified substance on the prohibited list.

In 2018, Horn made history as she became the first South African woman to run under 11 seconds in the 100m sprint, as she registered a time of 10.98 in Doha.