Northern Ireland medal hopefuls Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan have branded the timings of Commonwealth drug-testing a disgrace.
They were selected for random testing after training on Monday evening at 8pm and Barnes was still with the doping officials at 2am in the morning, a move he has said could seriously jeopardise his pre-Games training.
The test was then cancelled, but he was summoned back for further testing at 7.30am yesterday morning.
“I was still in my sweat gear and dehydrated and they had me sitting for about an hour,” the 27-year-old double Olympic bronze medallist said.
“I could have got cold or sick but they didn’t care – they just cared about getting urine. In the end they decided they would let me go and get changed but they kept me until two o’clock when they gave me two towels and told me I had to go to sleep on a physio bed.
“Eventually they voided the test and I could go back to my room but at half past seven this morning it happened again after four and a half hours’ sleep.
“It’s a disgrace. The timing of the test was terrible – to do it two days before the competition, I’ve never heard such a thing in my life.”
Barnes took to Twitter while it was all going on – as shown below – stating that the anti-doping officials ‘don’t care about athlete welfare’.
In a press conference yesterday, Barnes stated he would remain focused and not let the circumstances surrounding the testing affect his motivation for the games.
“If you’re angry it affects your performance and it doesn’t let you focus properly. This my third Commonwealth Games and since I made my debut in Melbourne eight years ago I have won medals all over the world and I have trained and fought properly. For me it is all about defending my title,” he said.
NI general team manager, Alison Moffitt, said that while they were fully supportive of the anti-doping programme, it caused ‘discomfort’ to athletes who were in a state of dehydration.
“Unfortunately the timing of a recent request caused discomfort for a number of athletes who had just finished training and were in a state of dehydration as they make weight for competition which starts in a few days’ time,” she said.