Rhys Williams’ failed drugs test has not cast a cloud over the Glasgow 2014 Games, a senior official insisted on Sunday.
Williams, the co-captain of Wales’ Commonwealth Games athletics squad, was provisionally suspended on Friday following a failed drugs test and misses the Glasgow Games as a result.
The European 400 metres hurdles champion became the second Welsh athlete to be forced out of the Games over an anti-doping rule violation, after 800m runner Gareth Warburton was withdrawn before the Games.
Williams said he was “utterly devastated” by the news of his failed test and insisted, as Warburton did, that he had never knowingly doped.
The company behind the Mountain Fuel supplements used by both athletes has launched an investigation to determine whether the product may have had a part in their failed tests.
Asked whether the latest withdrawal was concerning for the image of the Games, Mike Hooper, chief executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation, said: “I don’t believe it in any way puts a cloud over the Games.
“I think it sends a very strong and clear signal to anyone who would go down that path: if you take that choice, you will be caught.”
Addressing a daily briefing in the host city, he said Williams’ case was picked up in pre-Games testing in the UK and was not part of the Games-time testing programme.
He pointed to a “totally different” approach now being taken to testing, which does not simply focus on competition time. The emphasis is on working in collaboration with a number of other anti-doping organisations, he said.
“The reality is combating doping in sport is a fundamental priority for the Commonwealth Games Federation,” he said.
“For these Games we put in place a very robust anti-doping programme for here in Glasgow.”