Wheelchair basketball player sent home for doping at Paralympics

Wheelchair basketball player sent home for doping at Paralympics
An official team photo of Ahmet Coskun. Photo: DPA
A German wheelchair basketball player has been sent home from the Paralympics in Beijing on Wednesday after testing positive for doping.

Ahmet Coskun was found to have taken the banned substance finasteride during a routine check on August 23 by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA). The synthetic substance is often used to fight hair loss, but it can also conceal other performance-enhancing drugs.

“I was thinking about my hair and had no idea that a hair growth product contained banned substances,” Coskun said in a statement released by the German Disabled Sporting Association (DBS). “I’m completely distraught, doping never entered my mind.”

The 33-year-old athlete will return to Germany, however, his teammates will be allowed to continue taking part in the Paralympics. Officials said they would decide later whether Coskun will be subject to a lengthier suspension.

DBS Vice President Karl Quade expressed dismay over the incident. “We truly regret this news during the Paralympics,” he said. “We take topic anti-doping extremely seriously.”