January 13, 2023 2 min read


Wheelchair Tennis Player Venter Accepted ITIA Suspension

Venter has her A sample test positive for metabolites of stimulant Sibutramine and will be suspended until the matter is dealt with

Mariska Venter, a 26-year-old wheelchair tennis player from South Africa, has voluntarily accepted a provisional suspension for violating the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA)’s anti-doping program.

Provisional Suspension

Venter, who is currently ranked 36 by the ITF, accepted a provisional suspension effective December 13, 2022, and will be ineligible to participate in or attend any tennis event under the governing bodies of the sports until the matter is resolved.

Venter was notified by the ITIA in December that she has been charged with a violation of the 2022 Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (TADP), under Article 2.1 dealing with the presence of a prohibited substance in a player’s sample, and Article 2.2 concerning the use of a prohibited substance without a valid therapeutic use exemption.

The violation occurred at a wheelchair event in Belgium in July during which Venter was selected for a test as the analysis of the test’s A sample uncovered metabolites of Sibutramine, a substance that is classified as a stimulant and is prohibited under section S6 of the 2022 list of prohibited substances.

The List Is Growing

Venter is the latest tennis player to receive a sanction, albeit temporary, from the ITIA as the sports integrity body is determined to clear the sport from manipulation and unfair competition.

Just days ago, the sports integrity body sanctioned two professional tennis players from Algeria for multiple match-fixing offenses and one of them was slapped with a lifetime ban.

In December, ITIA banned for nine months Chinese player Baoluo Zheng for a match-fixing attempt during a tournament in Egypt in October and slapped Chilean tennis player Bárbara Gatica Avilés with a three-year ban for losing a match in exchange for payment in 2016.

Also in December, the integrity body issued lifetime bans to two French tennis players, Jules Okala and Mick Lescure, over match-fixing offenses going back to 2014 as both were found guilty of purposefully losing matches or influencing the outcome of games.

Bulgarian umpire Stefan Milanov, who was found in breach of ITIA’s Tennis Anti-Corruption Programme (TARP) by placing wagers on tennis games on multiple occasions one of which he was officiating, received only a six-month suspension.

Operating as the delegated party under the World Anti-Doping Code of the International Tennis Federation (ITF), ITIA is responsible for the management and administration of anti-doping policies and procedures in professional tennis, in accordance with the 2022 TADP, and is determined to protect the integrity of the sport.

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