Athletics Integrity Unit Issues 4-Year Ban For Former HS Star Issam Asinga

Athletics Integrity Unit Issues 4-Year Ban For Former HS Star Issam Asinga

The Texas A&M freshman was denied an end to his provisional suspension and was given a 4-year-ban by the AIU on Monday.

May 27, 2024 by Cory Mull
Athletics Integrity Unit Issues 4-Year Ban For Former HS Star Issam Asinga

The Athletics Integrity Unit has concluded its investigation on former Montverde Academy star Issam Asinga and announced on Monday its issuance of a 4-year ban on the athlete after testing positive for Metabolites, an anti-doping violation, in a testing sample on July 18, 2023.

The AIU issued his period of ineligibility on May 6, 2024, with credit continued through his provisional period, and a fee of $1,000 pounds toward World Athletics' legal fees.

Asinga was provisionally suspended by the AIU on August 9 following a positive test on a urine sample which found GW1516, a substance found on WADA prohibitive list, in his system. 

GW1516 is a hormone and metabolic modulator. A proceeding test of his 'B' sample also confirmed that finding.

Asinga, now 19, was suspended just after his final year with Montverde Academy, a preparatory high school based near Orlando, Florida. Before his suspension, he had qualified for the World Championships in Budapest and was set to represent Suriname.

Over the course of the 2023 track and field season, Asinga had broken a high school national indoor record in the 200m, won a number of national titles and had set an outdoor national record in the 100m, becoming the first U.S.-based teenager to go under 10 seconds for the distance, clocking a time of 9.89 seconds at the South American Championships. That performance was also a World U20 record.

The AIU issued a declaration of disqualified results beginning on July 18, which would render his South American championships in the 100m and 200m, along with his World U20 and national high school records, void. 

"The panel finds that fairness does not require otherwise," the AIU wrote.

Asinga's last result came on June 17 at New Balance Nationals Outdoor when he ran 10.05 to win the 100m title.

On Monday, shortly after the announcement was made by AIU, Asinga released a statement.

Statement from Issam Asinga

Since I began competing, I have always been committed to the integrity of my sport. I have been hyper-vigilant and have NEVER used and would NEVER knowingly use any banned substance, risking a promising career and my entire future.

Sadly, in 2023 while I was still a high school senior, Pepsico gave me a Gatorade gift package which contained Gatorade Recovery Gummies, displaying the industry-approved NSF Certified for Sport logo. The containers given to me were later tested at a WADA-accredited laboratory which identified that the product given to me was contaminated with GW1516, the same substance I tested positive for in trace amounts. Further, it turned out that the lot number on the containers given to me was NOT from an NSF-Certified for Sport lot.

While I respect the AIU’s responsibility to protect the sport, I am devastated that they issued the harshest ruling without regard for these facts and the evidence presented, which showed that the product I was given and took the week before my positive test was contaminated.  I am even more disheartened by misleading product labeling from a major corporation and their refusal to provide product samples needed to help an athlete they honored as their Gatorade Athlete of the Year.  

Even the AIU’s decision says Pepsico must have a sealed container saved from the same lot they gave to me. Based on this decision and the way the AIU is treating me, testing a sealed version from the same lot seems the only way I can clear my name.   As the product is now ironically discontinued, there is no way for me to purchase it. Pepsico is solely in control of my ability to test the product and exonerate myself.

My goal has always been to use my gift to follow my dream of a track and field career, continuing my parents’ amazing legacy. I am a young man of integrity.

I will appeal this decision and remain steadfast in proving my innocence and telling the true story.

Over the course of the investigation, made available by the AIU in an outline of the decisions made by the disciplinary tribunal, Asinga claimed that his positive test was due to a contaminated ingredient found in a Gatorade Recovery Gummy. He took this substance, he said, following an awards event held in Los Angeles recognizing National High School Players of the Year by Gatorade. 

Asinga, the top athlete in track and field over the 2023 season, received products by Gatorade at the event, one of them being the Gatorade Recovery Gummies. 

Asinga, who had tested negatively out of competition on June 11, had taken that supplement on July 18, 10 days before he would go on to win the 100 meter run at the South American Outdoor Championships on July 28. 

Asinga maintained his innocence over the investigational tribune, arguing via counsel that his positive sample was directly cause by his ingestion of the Gatorade Recovery Gummies, a product he assumed had been tested and approved for sport, and that there were issues with the way the product was cooked and labeled by Better Nutritionals LLC.

He received witness statements from his father Tommy Asinga, a former sprinter for Suriname who competed in three Olympics, and Texas A&M coach Pat Henry.

But the AIU countered that Asinga did not establish the source of GW1516 was contaminated, "nor that he had no significant fault or negligence, nor that the ADRV (anti-doping rule violation) was not intentional." 

Over its investigation it found that the substance which was tested to contain GW1516 was "on the outside and only very little on the inside" of the Gatorade Recovery Gummies.

With those three points outlined, the AIU believed a traditional framework for suspension was no less than four years, they wrote.


Surinamese Outlet Reports B-Sample positive