Brandon Cattouse banned from competing in National Road Championship -Takes matter to court Print E-mail
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Friday, 06 July 2018 00:00

The National Road Championship race, one of the biggest events on Belize’s cycling calendar could not happen this weekend because Brandon Cattouse, one of the elite cyclists on the local scene, managed to get an injunction which prevented the officials from the Cycling Federation of Belize from stopping him from participating in the race. That would have been a big problem for the Federation, since Cattouse is currently on a provisional indefinite suspension because he tested positive for a banned substance that is considered doping.

Cattouse tested positive at the end of April for the banned substance known in the sporting world as EPO. The way it works is that it gives the user an unfair competitive edge over none users because it is a blood boosting agent that increases the number of oxygen-carrying cells in the blood, which is reported to give cyclists more power and endurance.

As a consequence of the positive test for this banned substance, the National Anti-Doping Organization (NADO) placed him on suspension, which has been in place for several weeks now.

The Cycling Federation planned the National Road Championship race for Sunday, July 1, but on Thursday, June 28, Cattouse and his attorney, Hector Guerra, managed to get an ex-partae injunction against the Federation and the National Anti Doping Organization (NADO), which was granted by Justice Sonya Young. This injunction restrained the Federation and NADO from refusing to accept Cattouse’s application. The direct effect of this is that the hands of the cycling officials were tied, and they would have had to allow him to ride in the race even with this positive test for the banned substance.

The Federation and NADO acted out of an abundance of caution instead, and postponed the race with only one day’s notice. They were not prepared to risk Belize getting a suspension from the international Governing body for sports cycling, Union Cycliste Internationale, better known as UCI.

As a part of the inter-parties injunction, Justice Sonya Young ordered that Cattouse, NADO and the Cycling Federation present themselves before her on Tuesday, March 3, for a follow up hearing. They did and they were given an opportunity to try and convince the judge why she should or should not extend the injunction against NADO and the Federation indefinitely. The attorneys for the litigants presented arguments for just over 2 hours, and at the end, the judge was convinced by the attorneys for the cycling authorities that this injunction should be discharged. The attorneys for the defendants say that Cattouse ought to have informed the court that he is already getting natural justice in the form of an appeal process. An Arbitrator has already been appointed out of Spain to give him an opportunity to test whether his suspension should stand, or it should be lifted.

Darrell Bradley, attorney for the NADO told the awaiting press, “The reality is that the court discharged the injunction because he wrongly applied for the injunction. The judge - quite rightly - had some harsh words in relation to certain material non-disclosures that were made by himself [Brandon Cattouse]. They did not properly disclosed to the court the extent to which the arbitration process was in fact ongoing… The arbitrator is in regular and active communication with the parties to submit documentation… He has a solid right to representation before an internationally appointed tribunal.”

As to Cattouse’s exact complaint against the suspension and the positive test, his attorney, Hector Guerra explained it briefly to the media.

He commented, “We say that certain documents that are crucial to secure his right, and that are crucial to vindicate him, have not been provided to my client… In essence we say that the entire procedure being followed by NADO Belize is unfair and as a result, the finding should be quashed.”

When asked about Cattouse’s complaint itself, Darrell Bradley, attorney for NADO responded, “I want to emphasize that the testing procedures are very solid. I put forward in an affidavit the testing kit, that’s produce by a Swiss company, and that thing is tamper proof. The allegations that are made really are unsubstantiated. How can one really tamper with something which has been specially designed to be tamper proof and the test was done by the UCLA’s Olympic laboratory and that’s a WADA approved laboratory.”

So, the Cycling Federation is now free to hold the National Road Championship race, and Cattouse’s provisional indefinite suspension stands until his appeal process is completed. It will be determined at that time if it will be upheld, or if it will be set aside.

No new date has been announced as yet for the race however we are informed that it may take place sometime in the middle of August. The Cycling Association has been asked to take into consideration the Arbitration process that Cattouse is currently involved in with NADO to give him time for that process to come to a conclusion before the race is set and determine whether or not he can participate.