SANTIAGO – The Chilean Athletics Federation (Fedachi) confirmed on Friday that shot putter Natalia Duco, one of the country’s most prominent athletes, tested positive for a banned substance in April and has been provisionally suspended.
Duco, 29, tested positive for GHRP-6, a synthetic substance that increases the amount of growth hormone circulating in the body, prior to last month’s South American Games in Cochabamba, Bolivia.
The athlete said she would strive to clarify the situation in “a transparent fashion,” although she faces a possible four-year suspension and the loss of the gold medal she won in Cochabamba.
She won her fourth South American Games gold medal with a throw of 18.35 meters (60.16 feet), a record at that competition.
Fedachi, in a statement, said it strictly complies with anti-doping regulations and tirelessly supports and promotes the performance of athletes who refrain from using banned substances.
But it added that Duco’s process must be seen through to its conclusion and that the athlete has the right to defend herself within the established timeframe.
Duco had been scheduled to compete Friday in Morocco at a Diamond League meet, although she has been barred from taking part in the event due to the positive test result.
She confirmed on Twitter that she had been notified about the provisional suspension by Chile’s National Doping Control Commission.
“I’m getting advice and exploring my next steps,” Duco wrote. “As I’ve always done throughout my career, I will clarify this situation in a transparent fashion.”