David Bayer and Benjamin Barnes Receive Sanctions for Use of GW1516

Benjamin Barnes lifting at the 2016 USAW American Open. Barnes would fail a drug test and receive a 4-year sanction. Lifting Life/Photo.
Benjamin Barnes lifting at the 2016 USAW American Open. Barnes would fail a drug test and receive a 4-year sanction. Lifting Life/Photo.

The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced sanctions against David Bayer and Benjamin Barnes on June 30, 2017. Both athletes tested positive for GW1516. Bayer also had Clomiphene in his system.

Bayer received a 2.5-year sanction, a reduced sanction as a result of admitting use and cooperating with USADA. Bayer failed his drug test in an out-of-competition test conducted on October 12, 2016. Bayer’s sanction began on the same date, although all of Bayer’s results subsequent to October 16, 2015, have been disqualified because that is the date Bayer says he began taking the banned substances.

Barnes failed an in-competition drug test at the 2016 USAW American Open on December 10, 2016. Barnes was notified of the failed test on January 10, 2017 and was formally charged with violating an Anti-Doping rule on February 27, 2017. Barnes would request a formal hearing via a letter sent on March 15.

USADA initiated arbitration to be held by the American Arbitration Association (AAA). However, Barnes would fail to respond to requests for information and did not show up for an arbitration hearing. AAA would rule that Barnes did commit an anti-doping rule violation and that he should receive a four-year suspension. Barnes’ period of ineligibility would begin on June 29, 2017, the date of AAA’s decision.

Both athletes were found to be using GW1516, also known as GW501516. The cases, however, are not connected. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) issued a special alert in 2013 notifying athletes and coaches that GW501516 is a banned substance and can have serious side effects.

The substance was part of a developmental drug created by pharmaceutical companies, but was terminated when “serious toxicities were discovered in pre-clinical studies.” GW1516 is, however, available on the black market and via the Internet.

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