Canadian canoe star Vincent Lapointe awaits ICF decision on doping violation

MONTREAL — Canadian canoe star Laurence Vincent Lapointe must wait longer to find out if she will compete in this summer’s Olympic Games.

The International Canoe Federation (ICF) has told the athlete it needs more time to make a decision regarding her doping violation last year.

Women’s sprint canoe makes its Olympic debut in Tokyo.

Vincent Lapointe is a gold-medal contender having won a combined 11 world titles in C-1 and C-2 in her career.

The 27-year-old from Trois-Rivieres, Que., had a hearing with the ICF on Dec. 9.

She remains provisionally suspended for having trace amounts of Ligandrol in an out-of-competition doping test conducted July 29.

Ligandrol, used to treat conditions such as muscle wasting and osteoporosis, is on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of banned substances because it has an anabolic steroids effect.

Her lawyer Adam Klevinas has contended the Ligandrol could have come from contaminated supplements. The canoeist has said she gets her products from the National Team Training Centre.

While Vincent Lapointe is provisionally suspended, she can train on her own and intends to travel to Florida to do so.

“I am certainly disappointed that we haven’t received the final decision by now, as I had hoped would be the case,” Vincent Lapointe said Wednesday in a statement released by her agent.

“But while I wait for the final decision, there are less than 200 days before the Tokyo Olympics start and I need to get back on the water as soon as possible so that I can train as hard as I can in pursuit of my goal of winning a gold medal in August.”

Her lawyer expects a decision from the ICF in two weeks.

“This further delay should not in any way be considered as an indication that the outcome will be unfavourable for Laurence,” Klevinas said.

“We remain confident that, when the ICF renders its decision, Laurence’s name will be cleared and that she will be able to put this matter behind her as she pursues her ultimate objective — winning Olympic gold in Tokyo this summer.”

Under ICF rules, the doping control panel had 30 days from the date of the hearing to render a decision.

“Due to the complexity of Laurence’s case, as well as other matters that the ICF has unexpectedly had to deal with, such as WADA’s suspension of Russia and the implications that this has on Olympic qualification, we understand that additional time will be required for the ICF to render a final, reasoned decision,” Klevinas said.

Vincent Lapointe, Klevinas and Canoe Kayak Canada will not comment further on the matter until the ICF announces its decision, the statement said.

The canoeist isn’t the only Canadian athlete battling a doping violation ahead of the Tokyo Games.

Show jumper Nicole Walker of Aurora, Ont., tested positive for a cocaine metabolite at last summer’s Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.

She blames consuming coca tea for the infraction.

Canada’s show jumping team was stripped of its fourth-place finish, which expelled the country from the Olympic field.

Walker is taking her case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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