DUBAI: Iraqi Olympic sprinter Dana Hussein has been suspended from Tokyo 2020 after it was revealed by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) that she had tested positive for a banned substance at the recent 2021 Arab Athletics Championship in Tunisia, Al-Roeya newspaper reported.
The head of the Iraqi delegation participating in the Olympic Games, Haitham Abdel Hamid, said that Hussein, who competes in the 100m and 200m events, has been banned under the IAAF’s anti-doping rules, while the sprinter has explained in a social media video that the punishment was temporary while the results are investigated further.
The Iraqi National Olympic Committee had received a letter from the IAAF to inform it that Hussein has been suspended starting from July 16, exactly one week before the Tokyo Olympics’ official opening ceremony, until the case has been concluded.
The 35-year-old Hussein insisted that the suspension imposed on her is temporary and pending a response from the Iraqi Olympic Federation on the medical report.
The runner was seen explaining her situation in a video clip that was widely viewed on Twitter, saying that the amount of banned substance detected in the positive test was less than the minimum needed for suspension in the case of cortisone, a medical substance used to treat allergies. She added that the suspension would last until July 23, the day that the Iraqi Olympic Federation would officially respond to the IAAF.
A source in the Iraqi Athletics Federation confirmed that the runner, who had submitted to a series of drug tests during her participation in the 2021 Arab Athletics Championship in June, had undergone a nose job before leaving for Tunisia, and it is thought that substances used during that operation could have resulted in the heightened level of cortisone in her blood.
Iraq is participating at Tokyo 2020 with its smallest ever Olympic delegation, with only three other athletes taking part: Muhammad Riyad (rowing), Fatima Abbas (shooting, 10m air pistol) and Taha Hussein (athletics, 400m).