Australia’s Brennan fumes over hacker leaks

Olympic rowing gold medallist says a life-saving treatment is linked to doping

14:15 September 17, 2016

Sydney: Olympic rowing gold medallist Kim Brennan on Saturday said it was outrageous to link life-saving medical treatment to doping, after she was one of several Australians identified by computer hackers who have targeted the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Brennan said she was disappointed to have to clear her name after her medical information was published by the cyber espionage group ‘Fancy Bears’, which is believed to be Russian.

The hackers claim they were exposing athletes receiving questionable drug exemptions from WADA, but Brennan revealed why she had been granted a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) by WADA.

“In January 2014, I suffered an anaphylactic reaction and was rushed to hospital, where they administered me with adrenaline to effectively save my life,” Brennan told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

“That’s the only time I’ve ever taken a substance on the banned list and I followed all procedures to get a TUE after that time.

“That is the only occasion I’ve ever used adrenaline.”

A TUE is granted by WADA for athletes who require additional medication for genuine health problems.

“The reason TUEs exist is for legitimate medical reasons, and particularly in my case it was in no way performance-enhancing,” Brennan said.

“I was seriously ill after the administration of adrenaline, as anyone who has had an anaphylactic reaction would understand.”

Brennan is one of several dozen world athletes to have been named by Fancy Bears throughout this week.

“To suggest this is a form of doping is absolutely outrageous, and I think the fact that it’s being allowed to proceed, and athletes such as myself have to get up here and justify a life-saving medical treatment, is seriously disappointing,” she said.

The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) condemned the “malicious attacks” by Fancy Bears and their “blatant disregard for athlete privacy and wellbeing.”

The details of three Australian athletes had been exposed, it said, without naming them.

“Despite the efforts of the hackers to twist these exemptions to prove foul play, in obtaining a TUE the athletes have operated entirely within the rules of clean, fair sport,” ASADA said in a statement.

Rowing Australia identified rower Alex Belonogoff as another athlete targeted by the leaks.

“Belonogoff has a TUE which entitles him to carry an EpiPen for a severe food allergy,” RA said in a statement.

“In the case of both athletes, they have declared their TUEs on doping control forms, as is required by ASADA and WADA.”

RA’s principal medical officer Peter Fricker added: “We at Rowing Australia back the two rowers named as absolutely clean and having abided by ASADA’s rules.”