Serving up a drug storm

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RAFAEL NADAL: Has only ever used prescribed drugs.

MALLORCA’s favourite sporting son, Rafael Nadal, has come out fighting after a Russian hacker group accessed and published his personal medical records along with those of other top Olympic athletes. 

Taking revenge on the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada), which was instrumental in banning Russian athletes from the Rio Games, the hacking group known as ‘Fancy Bear,’ accessed the organisation’s medical records and has accused prominent British stars of doping.

A total of 26 athletes were named in the revelations as benefitting from therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs), which allow Olympians to use normally prescribed substances for legitimate medical problems. 

Examples include the drugs found in asthma inhalers and anti-inflammatory treatment for injuries.

There is no claim of illegality, but the revelations of the scale of TUE use has cast a shadow on the sport to the fury of the athletes mentioned, who have, after all, followed the rules. 

Nadal has twice been granted a TUE for knee inflammation, which has plagued him throughout his career, and received intramuscular injections of Tetracosactide, designed to stimulate the production of corticosteroids. 

On September 19, he told Spanish media, “When you ask permission to take something for therapeutic reasons and they give it to you, you’re not taking anything prohibited,” adding “It’s not news, it’s just inflammatory.” 

In March this year, Nadal said he would sue the former French sports minister, Roselyne Bachelot, after she suggested that his lengthy absence in 2012 was courtesy of his failing a doping test. 

The tennis legend, who has clocked up 14 Grand Slam victories, and is widely considered one of the greatest players ever to grace the court, was not alone among outraged athletes. 

British stars Mo Farah, and Bradley Wiggins, also saw their medical records hacked and TUE use thrust into the spotlight, alongside members of the British gold medal winning women’s hockey team. 

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