British tennis star has ban lifted over a year after positive doping test

British tennis star has ban lifted over a year after positive doping test

British tennis player Tara Moore can now play competitively again after she was cleared of any wrongdoing following a positive doping test. Moore was found not guilty after she accidentally ingested a banned substance unknowingly, leading to her absence from the court for 18 months.

In April 2022, Moore tested positive after taking a doping test. She has been fighting to clear her name since she was first provisionally suspended by the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) in May 2022.

Chilean star Barbara Gatica was also suspended after returning a positive sample and she has also been cleared, although she remains banned from tennis due to a ‘separate’ Tennis Anti-Corruption Program offence. Gatica and Moore were initially suspended as they both tested positive for anabolic steroids boldenone and nandrolone while competing at a WTA event in Colombia.

The news came just days after Moore finished runner-up in the women’s doubles at the WTA 250 Copa Colsanitas alongside American partner Emina Bektas. She subsequently requested that the B sample also be tested and protested the result, claiming innocence.

“I have never knowingly taken a banned substance in my career,” Moore insisted. “I am investigating how the positive result could have occurred. I look forward to proving that I am a clean athlete. I am deeply saddened by the provisional suspension and hope to be back on the court as soon as possible.”

The ITIA have now confirmed that both Moore and Gatica are cleared of any allegations. An independent tribunal claimed the duo “bore no fault or negligence for their adverse analytical findings and are therefore not subject to a period of ineligibility”.

Contaminated meat was listed as the reason for the positive tests, with a statement from the ITIA reading: “A hearing was convened remotely by Sport Resolutions on 14 and 15 December 2023, following which the independent tribunal determined that contaminated meat consumed by each player in the days before sample collection was the source of the prohibited substance(s) found in the players’ samples and, therefore, that both players bore No Fault or Negligence for their violations.”

The statement added: “The ITIA has issued, and will continue to issue, information concerning the risks of meat contamination in certain parts of the world to all players.”

The provisional suspensions imposed on each player were lifted with immediate effect, although Gatica remains suspended from tennis due to separate Tennis Anti-Corruption Program offences. Moore was inside the top 80 in women’s doubles in the world before she was suspended, and she has since slipped out of the rankings due to her provisional suspension.

Earlier this year, Moore criticised the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA) for offering to help former world No 1 Simona Halep in her battle against a doping ban. Halep has been banned after failing a drugs test during the 2022 US Open and the PTPA has offered assistance – something the body didn’t do for Moore or Galatica. 

“Their silence tells you everything,” Moore wrote before later sarcastically posting: “Thanks PTPA for helping myself and Barbara Gatica too.”