Home > News

Ironman catches another age group athlete at the Kona world championship

Out of competition test done on Oct. 4, 2022 but not announced until Feb. 6, 2024

Photo by: Kevin Mackinnon

Ironman’s pre-race testing at the Ironman World Championship continues to catch age group athletes who are doping. Last week the International Testing Agency (ITA), the organization “recently appointed to independently handle the results management and intelligence and investigations of anti-doping rule violations on behalf of Ironman,” reported on a two-year ban for Brazilian age grouper Derik Felix Afornali.

EPO positives in 2018

This isn’t the first time the pre-race testing in Kona managed to catch some age group competitors. In 2018 three athletes were suspended for four years after testing positive for anabolic steroids, EPO and CERA throughout competition tests during Kona (see below).
A year later two more athletes were caught on the Big Island – this time a pro and an age grouper.

Is AI the answer to combat motor doping? The UCI thinks it may be

It’s unclear why it’s taken until now to find out about Afornali’s positive test but what is known is that he has “accepted a 2-year period of ineligibility as a consequence of his anti-doping rule violation stemming from a sample collected out-of-competition on 4 October 2022.” That would have been on the Tuesday before his Saturday race in Kona. (The women raced on Thursday, October 6 that year.)

International Testing Agency report

“The sample collected from Derik Felix Afornali returned an adverse analytical finding for the specified prohibited substance clomifene,” the ITA reported. “Clomifene is prohibited under the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Prohibited List as hormone and metabolic modulator (S4.2). Clomifene has the potential effects of boosting or restoring testosterone production and thus increasing muscle mass.”

“Derik Felix Afornali did not challenge the ADRV and agreed with the consequences proposed by the ITA,” the ITA continued. “A two year period of ineligibility is the standard sanction for specified substances. Accordingly, this case was resolved via an acceptance of consequences pursuant to article 8.3.1 of the IRONMAN ADR. The athlete’s period of ineligibility across all sports ran until 3 October 2024 and any competition results obtained by the athlete after the positive test of 4 October 2022 are disqualified.”

Afornali finished 104th in the 30 to 34 age group with a time of 9:43:20 at the race in Kona. He finished third in that age group at Ironman Cozumel in 2019 (presumably his qualifying race for Kona) in 9:08:21. That year he also finished on the podium at three 70.3 races.