Thursday, May 9, 2019

Tisinger-Ledkins tests positive

Janel Tisinger-Ledkins tested positive for a banned substance at the 2019 USA Racquetball Doubles Championships, and as a result has been banned from competition for 16 months and disqualified from National Doubles. Thus, she and Aimee Ruiz have had their 2019 title vacated. Michelle De La Rosa and Danielle Maddux, who were runners up to Tisinger-Ledkins and Ruiz, will now be the 2019 Women’s Doubles Champions.

Tisinger-Ledkins’s positive test notice was posted on the USA Racquetball website rather discreetly with the headline “USAR Posting April 29 2019.” Only in paragraph three of the post does the pin drop that Tisinger-Ledkins tested positive.

She was found to have “octopamine sulfate, a metabolite of octopamine” in her system. Octopamine is a stimulant prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency for in competition use. Tisinger-Ledkins will not contest the sanction, and unwittingly took the substance, as it is an ingredient in “a supplement I have been taking,” she said.

Tisinger-Ledkins offered her “profound and sincere apologies to my doubles partner, Aimee Ruiz, who had nothing to do with this situation but is still subject along with me to loss [sic] of our National Doubles title. She deserves none of this.”

By winning the 2019 USA National Doubles title, Ruiz and Tisinger-Ledkins were possible US team members for the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru this summer. Now that won’t happen for Tisinger-Ledkins, and seems unlikely for Ruiz, who doesn’t have any other results to help her qualify for the team.

The Pan Am Games are the largest multi-sport event that includes racquetball, and it’s the only high level competition Ruiz - a three time International Racquetball Federation (IRF) Women’s Doubles World Champion - has not participated in. Ruiz is 44, and this was probably her last opportunity to go to Pan Ams, which is a quadrennial event. We can only imagine how disappointing it must be to not make the team because of a partner’s error.

Drug testing has become common place with elite athletes, and players aspiring to that level need to be aware of what is OK and what isn’t. Tisinger-Ledkins offered this advice to “my fellow athletes that it is critical to be vigilant and aware at all times regarding anything you put into your bodies. My hope is that my experience will prevent others from having to deal with this challenge in their own lives.”

Follow the bouncing ball….

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