REVEALED: The inter-county player who failed a drugs test in February
The inter-county player who failed a drugs test in February has been revealed as Carlow footballer Ray Walker.
The 35-year-old has confirmed that he will serve a four-year ban but added that his acceptance of the ban is not an admission of guilt, and maintains he “did not intentionally take any banned substance”.
Walker, the GAA and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has until April 29 to appeal the ban, Newstalk’s Off The Ball reports.
The player, who tested positive for the banned substance Meldonium, released a statement via the Gaelic Players’ Association:
“My name is Ray Walker. I am 35 years-old and returned to the Carlow senior football panel last November following a long absence. I am the player who is at the centre of recent reports about an anti-doping violation.
“In light of the 4-year ban which I now have to serve, which ends my inter-county career, and most likely my club involvement given my age, I want to put the following on the record.
“I did not intentionally take any banned substance. Anything that was found in my system was there completely unintentionally. I cannot explain for sure how the substance came to be in my system but I was taking anti-inflammatories for a lower stomach issue around the time of the test.
“I am accepting the 4-year ban because I want this episode over and done with and, at 35, even a lesser ban would still mean I was unlikely to ever return to playing. It is not an admission of intentional wrong doing on my part in any way.
“Finally, from the time that I re-joined the Carlow panel in November to the time the test took place in February, I did not receive any anti-doping training or education.
“I will be making no further comment on this matter and would appreciate that the media would respect my privacy in this regard.”
Meldonium was the same stimulant at the centre of the tennis player Maria Sharapova’s ban. Used to treat angina and heart problems, it was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (Wada) banned list in January 2016, having been on their monitoring programme throughout 2015.