Rugby League Player Sebastian Kolasa has been suspended by UK Anti-Doping from all sport for 15 months following an anti-doping rule violation.
The 19-year-old was found guilty of evading an out-of-competition test on 21 August 2013 at his club London Skolars’ training ground. This is the first anti-doping rule violation for evasion in the United Kingdom. Kolasa is banned from all competition from 1 September 2013 to 30 November 2014. The ban on Kolasa is a reduction from the two years originally imposed and has been backdated to 1 September 2013. This is a reflection of Kolasa's co-operation with the investigation.
Graham Arthur, UK Anti-Doping Director of Legal, remarked to fail to comply with sample collection is a serious violation of the anti-doping rules and the message to athletes is clear; if you are approached for testing, do not refuse or walk away as the consequences are severe. Arthur added in the case of this athlete, had he stayed and been selected for testing, it is quite possible that the outcome would have been very different and went on to say that the penalties from 1 January for not doing so will double, and athletes trying to deliberately cheat the system are likely to face four years excluded from sport.
Skolars chief executive Hector McNeil said the club views this whole episode extremely seriously and, like the sport as a whole, we take a strong anti-doping stance. He added the national anti-doping panel that heard the case acknowledged that Sebastian did not commit any anti-doping rule violation involving use of a banned substance, and in fact two days later provided a negative test, but evading a test is a serious offence which is recognized in the severity of the sentence. McNeil also remarked Sebastian is a promising youngster, who realizes he has made a serious error of judgment and is full of remorse and he pleaded guilty to the charge and co-operated fully with UK Anti-Doping, for which he deserves credit.
In another development, over 50 representatives from a range of National Governing Bodies (NGBs) and sporting organizations met in Birmingham for the inaugural UKAD Educator Forum. Director of Communications and Education Nicola Newman said enabling education is a vital aspect of UKAD’s remit. Educators play a critical role in implementing their organization’s strategies, to ensure athletes and athlete support personnel fully understand their anti-doping responsibilities. Newman added it was really encouraging to see so many Educators attend this event and said we provided an environment to share experiences, ask questions and learn new skills, which will help ensure athletes in the UK continue to receive the highest level of anti-doping education.
National Trainer Paul Moseley, involved in the training of Educators, said the Forum was a great opportunity for Educators to come together and discuss some of their experiences and learn about key changes to the new Code and added the opportunity to explore and develop questioning and active listening skills provided the opportunity to build on skills that are not often practiced.