Martin Fagan: admitted to using EPO. INPHO/Paul Railton

No distance left to run: Martin Fagan banned for two years by athletics chiefs

The Mullingar man admitted to using EPO in a bid to get back on track ahead of London 2012.

MARTIN FAGAN HAS been banned for two years by Athletics Ireland and the Irish Sports Council for his use of performance-enhancing drugs.

The 28-year-old faced an anti-doping committee hearing in Dublin this evening.

Fagan failed a test last December and admitted this week that he bought EPO on the internet and administered it himself ahead of a planned appearance at last weekend’s Houston marathon.

A committee statement reads: “Athletics Ireland and the Irish Sports Council jointly announce that the Irish Sport Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel has determined that Martin Fagan, an athlete affiliated to Athletics Ireland, has committed an anti-doping rule violation.

“The Panel found that, contrary to Article 2.1 of the Irish Anti-Doping Rules, Mr Fagan, tested positive for the presence of a prohibited substance or its metabolite or marker, recombinant erythropoietin, in a sample of his urine collected on behalf of the Irish Sports Council during out of competition testing at Tucson, Arizona on the 10th December 2011.

“Mr Fagan has been sanctioned, subject to his right to appeal within 14 days, by the imposition on him of a period of ineligibility for two years. The Panel has decided that because of the prompt admission of the violation by Mr Fagan the appropriate commencement date for the period of ineligibility is 10th December 2011, the date on which the sample was collected.

“The hearing was held under Article 8 (Disciplinary Process) of the Irish Anti-Doping Rules and this announcement is made pursuant to Article 15 (Public Disclosure) of the Rules.”

The Mullingar man explained in a frank Irish Times interview that a combination of depression, financial pressures and injury contributed to his decision to dope.

Prompted by media reports, Athletics Ireland confirmed on Saturday that an Irish athlete had indeed failed a drug test.

Under anti-doping guidelines, an athlete can choose to appear before a disciplinary panel to explain the findings or have a B sample tested. Having chosen the latter, Fagan faced the committee today.

He has been based in the US in recent seasons and his use of EPO was discovered during an out-of-competition test in Arizona before Christmas. Yesterday, former long-distance Olympian and RTÉ pundit Jerry Kiernan said he thought the 28-year-old’s career is now effectively over.

“As I said I was shocked and very saddened by it all. I would hope he gets over this but his running career is finished,” he said.

Fagan’s coach Keith Kelly, meanwhile, explained on the Off The Ball programme last night that said that the athlete was trying to ‘get back to nuetral’ after a rash of debilitating injuries.

“If it wasn’t Martin and it was someone I didn’t know, I would be (angry) too,” he said in an interview on Newstalk’s Off The Ball last night. But the frustration soon disappeared and I just felt concerned for my friend.

“It began to make sense to me.  It wasn’t about a performance-enhancing, he was trying to get back to neutral.”

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