Banned Gabe Hamlin claims cocaine was in his system from KISSING a woman

Former Wigan player Gabe Hamlin claimed he tested positive for cocaine after it was passed from kissing a woman he had met through an online dating app.

Monday, 3rd February 2020, 4:38 pm
Updated Monday, 3rd February 2020, 5:13 pm
Gabe Hamlin playing for Wigan

The Australian, who tested positive last February, has been banned from all sports for two years - backdated to his initial suspension - and will be free to resume his rugby league career in 12 months' time.

Hamlin told UK Anti-Doping he did not take the banned substance, and it must have been passed into his system from kissing a woman.

According to the full UKAD judgement, he said his "ingestion of cocaine was not intentional. He asserts that on the evening of 7 February 2019 (the night before sample collection) he was at his home with a woman he had met through an online dating application.

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"Mr Hamlin indicates that he and the woman kissed during the course of the evening from around 10:30pm. Mr Hamlin maintains he did not consume cocaine or see the woman consuming it; he suggests that she appeared ‘very chatty and visited the bathroom several times’ and that he discovered white powder in his bathroom the following morning (though he did not presume this to be cocaine at that time)."

UKAD sought an opinion of Professor Kim Wolff, Head of the Drug Control Centre at King’s College London, and he said the account "does not stand up to scrutiny".

He said the low concentration in the sample was consistent with 'out of competition' ingestion - in the days earlier.

In light of Prof Wolff's opinion, UKAD did not accept Hamlin's account but the ruling body was satisfied he did not intentionally take it 'in competition'.

Hamlin had provided a urine sample after playing for Wigan against Leeds in early February last year.

Pat Myhill, UK Anti-Doping Director of Operations, said: “Cocaine is a dangerous drug with significant health risks, which has no place in sport.

“This case is another example of a metabolite of cocaine resulting in an athlete receiving a ban from sport. We realise that the length of sanctions for this substance can vary between cases, this is because of the specific sanctions laid out in the Anti-Doping Rules. The independent expert witness in this case ruled out the possibility that ingestion took place during the In-Competition period. This means that a possible four-year ban was reduced to two years.

“Athletes are solely responsible for what is in their system, regardless of how they claim it got there and whether there was an intention to cheat or not. It is quite simply not worth the risk.”

Benzoylecgonine is listed under section S6a (Stimulants) of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) 2019 Prohibited List. It is a non-Specified Substance and its presence in an athlete’s system is prohibited In-Competition only.

Hamlin had a B sample tested and, after admitting the violation, his two year suspension will end on February 7, 2021.

The 23-year-old joined Wigan ahead of the 2018 season from Souths. Since his suspension, all parties have been silent and a statement from the club said: "Wigan Warriors have been constrained legally from commenting until the conclusion of the investigation by WADA but can now confirm that the club dismissed Gabe Hamlin on the 19th of July 2019 without notice on his admission of an anti-doping rule violation.

"We wish Gabe well and have offered him rehabilitation assistance once his ban has been served.”