High Jumper Inika McPherson handed 16-month ban for doping violation

The 36-year-old high jumper and Rio 2016 Olympian Inika McPherson has been suspended by the American Arbitration Association (AAA) for 16 months.

Inika McPherson in a file photo (Image Credits - Twitter)
By Abhiruchi Rout | Apr 15, 2023 | 2 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

The 36-year-old high jumper and Rio 2016 Olympian Inika McPherson has been suspended by the American Arbitration Association (AAA) for 16 months after testing positive for the illegal substance furosemide. This is her second career-long doping suspension. McPherson was found positive for the substance in an out-of-competition urine sample on June 3 of last year. Some doping compounds, such as anabolic steroids, are made less detectable by the drug furosemide. She has been suspended and has had all of her accomplishments and awards for the period annulled by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

What did Inika McPherson have to say?

Inika McPherson alleged that she had broken the law by taking furosemide prescribed to someone else when she should have been taking an anti-inflammatory. However, the independent arbitrator AAA decided that her justification called for a reduced punishment from the standard two-period of ineligibility to 16 months. According to a statement from the USADA, McPherson’s 16-month period of ineligibility started on July 22, 2022, the day her provisional ban was enacted. “In addition, McPherson has been disqualified from competitive results obtained on and subsequent to June 3, 2022, the date her positive sample was collected, including forfeiture of any medals, points, and prizes, ” the statement added.

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Inika McPherson has also been charged before due to doping

This is not the first time since Inika McPherson has been previously associated with the doping scandal. At the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in 2014, she had a positive test for benzoylecgonine, the primary metabolite of cocaine. Texas native McPherson had competed for the United States at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games, the 2007 Pan American Games, the 2011, 2013, 2017, and 2019 World Athletics Championships, as well as the 2012 and 2014 World Indoor Championships. She placed 10th at Rio 2016 with a leap of 1.93 meters before placing ninth at the World Championships in London 2017 with a leap of 1.92 meters. She had also finished seventh at the 2018 World Indoor Championships in Birmingham.

Doping being a huge concern for World Athletics and IOC

Inika McPherson’s sentence comes at a time when doping is a prominent concern in sports. The National Anti-Doping Organisations (NADOs) have been urged to strengthen their vigilance by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which has been increasing efforts to prevent doping. Notably, the USADA has been rigorously enforcing anti-doping laws and suspending athletes who are found guilty of breaking them. Inika McPherson’s career will undoubtedly be significantly impacted by the suspension. The high jumper has now been placed on the sidelines for 16 months, during which time she won’t be able to practice or compete. 

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