The Canadian Curling Association (CCA) has learned that one of our national wheelchair athletes, Mr. James Armstrong, has been sanctioned by the World Curling Federation (WCF) following a WCF Doping Hearing Panel’s ruling of an anti-doping violation. This sanction is a suspension which is applicable to James Armstrong for a period of 18 months from the date of the panel’s initial ruling (February 17, 2012).
As the National Governing Body associated with the athlete, we have been notified of the finding as published on the WCF website. The out-of-competition testing had been administrated by the international federation and its dealings direct with the athlete.
The CCA has a formal agreement with the WCF and we abide by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) protocols as it relates to doping and potential subsequent sanctions. The CCA’s policy is to respect sanctions imposed by other agencies, such as the WCF, to the extent of their authority. To this avail, the athlete is no longer a member of the National Team Program subject to a pending appeal to the International Court of Arbitration for Sport, which we are informed, is imminent.
The CCA believes doping has no place in sport and furthermore fair and equal competition is an essential tenet of sport and why our Association makes significant efforts to see that effective national and international anti-doping education and doping control programs are in place.
That said, and having read through the comprehensive report, we can certainly empathize with the athlete as there appear to be some extraordinary circumstances related to this matter.
The sport of curling is recognized as a very low risk sport as it relates to doping and given the "non-intentional" and "non-competitive advantage" nature of this infraction, and the surrounding circumstances, we believe such a status will be maintained.
The CCA’s National Team Program will continue to strive for podium results and we will continue to invest in Team Canada and our National Team Program athlete pool as we move forwards from this, with the best interests of the sport front of mind.