World Anti-Doping Agency ruling delays Tunnicliffe return at World Sailing Cup in Miami
Olympic Champion Anna Tunnicliffe (Pittsburgh, Penn.) has withdrawn from competing in the Laser Radial class at this week's Sailing World Cup Miami 2017, due to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)'s denial of her expedited request to return to active status in January of 2017.
On Tuesday morning, Tunnicliffe received word from WADA officials that in their judgement, and according to Article 5.7.1 of the World Anti-Doping Code, not enough time had transpired from the time of her un-retirement request to the date of her first competition.
Tunnicliffe has instead been cleared to compete starting on July 6, 2017. Tunnicliffe had the full support of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), World Sailing and US Sailing in her effort to receive an exemption and return to active competition this week.
Tunnicliffe had planned to return to Olympic-level sailing in Miami after a three-year retirement, during which time she was no longer requested to submit to the regular anti-doping tests that top Olympic athletes receive. As part of her effort to return to racing, Tunnicliffe worked with USADA to receive all necessary forms of testing, and upon completion of that process was given the support of USADA, World Sailing and US Sailing to apply for an un-retirement exemption from WADA that would allow her to return to active status on an expedited timetable. This exemption would have allowed her to compete in Miami in January 2017.
"Anna followed all the necessary steps to return to racing, and we are saddened and disappointed that her return will not come in Miami, as we had all hoped," said Malcolm Page, Chief of U.S. Olympic Sailing. "We respect WADA's decision while fully supporting the steps Anna has taken in her un-retirement process. She complied with all testing requirements, and it is unfortunate that she will not be able to compete due to a technicality. Anna is a legend in our sport, and a role model for all American sailors. Her presence has been enormously positive for our team this year, and we hope to see her back on the racecourse as soon as possible."
[Main image by Jen Eden/World Sailing]