POPS HANDED DOPING BAN

Great Britain international Pops Mensah-Bonsu has been handed a two-year ban for doping.

It was revealed last month that the London-born forward, who finished last season with AEK Athens, had failed an initial test after amphetamines were found in his system in a sample taken on April 18 by Greece’s National Council for Combating Doping.

With the mandatory second sample understood to have shown a similar result, the 31-year-old has been handed a lengthy suspension by an adjudicator, along with a €1000 fine.

Following the initial announcement of a doping infraction, Mensah-Bonsu claimed that he was prescribed the drug involved, Adderall, as a treatment for Attention Deficit Disorder by team doctors at the Denver Nuggets during training camp last year.

“I would also like to point out that this medicine is necessary for my daily functions like reading, watching a movie or babysitting my kids,” he told a press conference in Athens. “All these have nothing to do with the game of basketball. I insist that the use of this medicine was only and exclusively regarding my personal life.”

However Adderall contains ingredients which are prohibited under the code of the World Anti-Doping Agency with experts insisting it can help with mental alertness as well as countering fatigue.

“I would like to reiterate that never in my career have I been found guilty for using any kind of prohibited medicine, having participated in the Olympic Games, the Euroleague (including a Final 4), the NBA and in many games in Europe at the highest level,” he added. “It is unfortunate that this form of medication has yet to be approved in some professional leagues in Europe, knowing the amount of athletes that suffer from this Disorder.”

Mensah-Bonsu, who has previously played for several NBA teams, has not played for GB since the 2012 Olympic Games and was not included in their squad for July’s friendly against New Zealand.

It has not been revealed whether he will appeal against the ban. British Basketball officials declined comment, pending an official advisory.

A UK Anti-Doping spokesperson confirmed that Mensah-Bonsu’s ban will be upheld in the United Kingdom, once the charge is communicated from the Greek authorities to FIBA, and then onward to British Basketball.

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