April 5, 2018

Fatemeh Hadavand and Maedeh Nazari, members of the Iranian National Women’s Cycling team, were among 18 people named by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UIC) who tested positive for banned performance-enhancing drugs. According to a report released on April 4 by the UIC’s Anti-Doping Rule, Hadavand and Nazari’s tests showed the presence of anabolic–androgenic steroids in their blood. The UIC has provisionally suspended Hadavand and Nazari from competing in cycling races.

Fatemeh Hadavand and Maedeh Nazari

The two cyclists insist that they have never used drugs. “The charges against us have been fabricated,” Hadavand told ISNA (Iranian Students News Agency.) “We’ve always spoken against doping. Also, I’ve repeatedly stated my position against the use of steroids. I don’t want people to think that I was lying.”

Hadavand noted: “We asked for proper accommodation at the training camp for the 2018 Asian Cycling Championship games. We didn’t want overcrowded dormitories. Ideally, there should have been two and not seven people to a room. We also took extra precautions to prevent anyone from interfering with our protein drinks and supplements.”

Speaking about testing positive for banned substances, Hadavand said: “I want people to know that we are innocents. We’ve been extremely upset about all of this. We never took any steroids, and we want people to know that. We made our case to the federation, but they asked for documented proof. We pray for a positive resolution.”