Olympic judo bronze medallist Charline van Snick has won her appeal against a two-year doping ban before the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Van Snick, 24, tested positive for cocaine at the world championships in Rio de Janeiro in August 2013, after winning another bronze medal in the 48kg category.
She vehemently denied taking the drug, claiming that she was the victim of sabotage, and the world sports’ tribunal partially found in her favour.
“The CAS has recognized the existence of an anti-doping rule violation, but has partially upheld the appeal of the athlete, considering that she was probably the victim of sabotage,” CAS said in a statement.
“Consequently, the CAS has maintained the annulment of the results obtained by Charline van Snick during the Judo World Championships in Rio de Janeiro in 2013, but has annulled the two-year ban imposed by the FIJ (International Judo Federation) against the athlete.”
Van Snick tested positive for cocaine metabolites after her bronze medal win and the B sample confirmed the result.
“The arbitral panel in charge of this matter has examined the arguments of the parties and has first noted that the presence of cocaine in the athlete’s body was established, even in a very low quantity, and that it constituted a violation of the applicable anti-doping regulations,” CAS continued.
“Furthermore, it has concluded that the athlete was not a cocaine consumer, neither regularly, nor occasionally, and that the voluntary consumption of such substance during the judo World Championships was highly unlikely.
“However, the arbitral panel considered that the existence of sabotage against the athlete was the most likely scenario, taking into account some troubling facts brought to the knowledge of the Panel during the procedure, in particular the existence of a complaint for harassment filed by the athlete against a member of her entourage …”
It added that a criminal investigation against an unnamed person was currently under way.