(Reuters) – Canada’s 11-times canoe world champion Laurence Vincent Lapointe maintained she is not a drug cheat on Tuesday but conceded there will be people who will never believe her.
Canoe Kayak Canada (CKC) announced on Monday that Vincent Lapointe had returned an adverse analytical finding following an out-of-competition doping test in late July.
In accordance with the International Canoe Federation’s anti-doping rules, Vincent Lapointe has been provisionally suspended pending the final outcome of her case disqualifying her from the world championships which begin on Wednesday in Szeged, Hungary.
Vincent Lapointe held a news conference in Montreal on Tuesday proclaiming her innocence and that she did not knowingly consume any banned substance but admitted no matter what the outcome there will be people who will label her a cheat.
“Whether I win at the Olympics or not there will always be someone out there who doubts that it was involuntary,” Vincent Lapointe told reporters.
“I am not going to try and ignore that I am someone who is prepared… I am just going to have to ignore those comments if someone attacks me and says I cheated, because I have confidence in myself.
“I know I didn’t do anything.
“I have nothing to hide and I just hope people will believe me but certainly there will be some people who don’t.”
Considered one of Canada’s top medal prospects at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Vincent Lapointe’s participation is now in doubt.
The 27-year-old Quebecer has dominated the canoe sprint winning gold in the C-1 200 metres at the 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2017 and 2018 world championships.
The CKC said in a statement that the substance, which was not named, found in Vincent Lapointe’s sample has been the subject of recent established tainted supplement cases.
The CKC noted that preliminary information supports that her positive test result, “may have been caused by inadvertent and unknowing use of a prohibited substance from such a source”.
“This feels like a nightmare; I still cannot believe what has happened,” Vincent Lapointe said in a statement.
“Since learning of my positive test just a few days ago, I have done everything possible, with the support of CKC and within a short period of time, to determine the source of the prohibited substance that was found in my sample so that I can prove that I am innocent and that I am an honest and clean athlete.”
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Christian Radnedge)