A French professional tennis player was banned for one year for weed. Alexandre Nicolau was first banned by the French National Anti-Doping Agency. The ban was then upheld by the International Tennis Federation. As a result, Nicolau will not be allowed to play in any French competitions for one year. Similarly, he will also be barred from Grand Slam or other international events.
Alexandre Nicolau Banned For Weed
Earlier this month, the French Anti-Doping Agency suspended the 34-year-old tennis player after he tested positive for cannabis. Then, last week, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) announced that it would respect and uphold the suspension.
“The Tennis Anti-Doping Programme applies to all players competing at Grand Slam tournaments and events,” the ITF said in a statement. “Upon a finding that an Anti-Doping Rule Violation has been committed, sanctions are imposed under the Programme in compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code.”
The suspension means Nicolau won’t be able to play in French events. Similarly, he is barred from playing in all ITF events. So far, the tennis player has only played in one ITF event. That one was back in 2010.
WADA’s Weed Ban
Both the ITF and the French National Anti-Doping Agency follow the rules set up by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). WADA is an international agency that sets up rules for sports. In particular, the group defines what substances athletes are not allowed to consume. Cannabis is listed under the group’s “Prohibited In-Competition” section of banned substances.
Although cannabis is still banned by WADA, the organization has loosened some of its weed-related rules in recent years.
Back in 2013, the organization raised the limit of THC that athletes are allowed to have in their systems. Before 2013 if an athlete had more than 15 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood, they would be suspended.
But the 2013 rule change increased that limit by ten times. Now, athletes won’t get in trouble unless they have 150 ng/ml of THC or higher.
In most cases, this means that athletes most likely won’t get busted unless they consume weed directly before or during an event. If an athlete got high long before an event, enough THC would flush out of their system to put them below the allowable threshold. But if they got high closer to a drug test or an event, they’d be at a higher risk of failing the test.
Final Hit: Tennis Player Banned For One Year For Weed
Regardless of WADA’s changes, cannabis is still against the rules. And since so many sports organizations and leagues follow WADA’s rules, it means that athletes all over the world face heavy penalties for consuming weed. Alexandre Nicolau is the latest example of what those penalties look like. He will not be allowed to play tennis for a full year after testing positive for cannabis.
More and more, athletes are speaking out against these types of bans. For example, in the U.S., NFL players are pushing for access to medical cannabis. Many argue that athletes have to deal with a lot of aches and pains. They say that medical cannabis could be a safer form of medicine than prescription drugs.