Tennis - Bogomolov Suspended For Asthma Medicine

<TABLE><TBODY><TR><TD colSpan=2>Bogomolov, Jr. Suspended For Asthma Medication
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Alex Bogomolov, Jr. </TD><TD vAlign=top>By Richard Pagliaro

[font=Arial,]An expired exemption has result in a suspension from tennis for Alex Bogomolov, Jr. Failure to file the proper paperwork on time to extend an exemption for asthma medication has cost Bogomolov, Jr. a 90-day suspension from tennis. The International Tennis Federation announced an independent Tribunal ruled Bogomolov, Jr. tested positive for the banned substance salbutamol during a drug test at the Australian Open on January 13th. [/font]

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[font=Arial,]The Tribunal sanctioned Bogomolov, Jr. with a 90-day suspension starting on September 26th. The 190th-ranked American will forfeit all prize money and ranking points he earned from the Australian Open qualifying event in January through the Mexico City Challenger in April. [/font]

[font=Arial,]The 22-year-old Bogomolov, Jr. played primarily on the Challenger circuit during that four-month period with his lone ATP tournament appearance a straight-sets loss to Jeff Salzenstein at Scottsdale in February.[/font]

[font=Arial,]Appearing before the Tribunal on September 2nd in Manhattan, Bogomolov, Jr. acknowledged taking salbutamol through an inhaler to treat exercise-induced asthma, however his Therapeutic Use Exemption for the medication had expired two weeks earlier. The Tribunal determined there was no intent by Bogomolov to enhance his performance by taking the medication, therefore the mandatory two-year ban for violating tennis' anti-doping policy, which was most recently applied to Argentina's Guillermo Canas for testing positive for the banned diuretic hydrochlorothiazide at the Acapulco clay-court event in February, did not apply to his case. However, Bogomolov, Jr. was found "to be at fault for failing to take personal responsibility for ensuring he had a valid Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE)" to satisfy anti-doping rules for his use of salbutamol. [/font]

[font=Arial,]Basically, Bogomolov, Jr. and his doctor failed to file the required paperwork necessary to extend his TUE, which expired on December 31st, 2004. Consequently, he was not covered to use salbutamol at the time of his drug test on January 13th despite the fact he had a valid prescription for the drug, had received two prior Therapeutic Use Exemptions and had passed six previous drug tests. [font=Arial,]The Moscow-born Bogomolov, Jr. has suffered from episodes of bronchitis since childhood, but was not diagnosed as an asthmatic while growing up. After turning professional, Bogomolov, Jr. began experiencing shortness of breath on court. [/font]

[/font][font=Arial,]On August 25th, 2003, Bogomolov collapsed on court at the U.S. Open suffering shortness of breath and was carried off the court on a stretcher. The next day, New York physician Dr. Damion Martins put Bogomolov, Jr. through a series of lung exams and prescribed albuterol as treatment, giving Bogomolov, Jr. an inhaler and advising him to take two puffs 30 minutes before exercising.[/font]

[font=Arial,]Days later, U.S. Open Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brian Hainline faxed a medical exemption on Bogomolov's behalf to the International Doping Tests and Management office in Lindigo, Sweden. The IDTM approved a one-month exemption for Bogomolov's use of the medication from September 1st-October 1st of 2003. [/font]

[font=Arial,]On September 5th, 2003, Bogomolov, Jr. visited Nasdaq-100 Open tournament physician Dr. Rodolpho Cepero who subsequently sent a letter to the IDTM stating Bogomolov's condition was "chronic" and requesting the player be allowed to "continue using either an albuterol or Salmeterol inhaler indefinitely as needed for his condition." In his letter to the IDTM, Dr. Cepero included the earlier exemption that the IDTM approved upon Dr. Hainline's request during the U.S. Open. [/font]

[font=Arial,]This is where the first paperwork problem began. The IDTM faxed back a form to Dr. Cepero stating the information supplied was incomplete and requiring Dr. Cepero to fill out a new request form. Dr. Cepero told the Tribunal he cannot recall ever receiving that fax and does not believe he did, however the IDTM produced a fax transmission receipt that shows the fax was received by Dr. Cepero's office.[/font]

[font=Arial,]Neither Dr. Cepero nor Bogomolov acted on the request to file a new TUE form and as a result, Bogomolov's initial exemption expired on October 1st, 2003. [/font]

[font=Arial,]Months later, Bogomolov, Jr., who left Moscow at the age of nine and moved to Mexico before settling in Miami at age 11, was competing in the 2004 Nasdaq-100 Open on Key Biscayne when his coach at the time, Francisco Montana, advised him to see Dr. Cepero "to fill out the form that would enable you to use your inhaler." Asked by Dr. Cepero if he had a valid TUE, Bogomolov, Jr. said either he did not have one or was not sure if he had one. Bogomolov obtained a TUE from ATP trainer Per Bastholt and the form, filled in by the handwriting of Bogomolov, Jr. Bastholt and Dr. Cepero, was signed and dated March 28th, 2004. On the form, Dr. Cepero requested "indefinite use" in response to the anticipated length of time Bogomolov would be using his salbutamol inhaler. [/font]

[font=Arial,]On March 30th, 2004, the IDTM received the request and in a fax sent to Dr. Cepero on March 31st, the IDTM issued a TUE for Bogomolov, Jr. which would expire on December 31st, 2004. Neither Bogomolov, Jr. nor his doctor realized the TUE expired on December 31st. Both physician and player apparently mistakenly assumed the TUE was valid indefinitely.[/font]

[font=Arial,]As a result, Bogomolov, Jr., who married Ashley Harkleroad on December 4th, 2004 in Georgia, never filed the proper paperwork to renew his TUE, it expired on December 31st and he was not covered by an exemption when he tested positive on January 13th of this year. [/font]