Diana Taurasi’s defense against doping ban helps clear her name

The Turkish basketball federation lifted a provisional doping ban on basketball star Diana Taurasi Wednesday according to Fenerbahce, the club she plays for in Turkey.

A Turkish-based World Anti-Doping Agency anti-doping control lab first reported that two of Taurasi’s samples had tested positive for the mild stimulant drug modafinil late last year. The drug can be used to combat insomnia and other sleep-related conditions. The lab retracted its conclusions after examining Taurasi’s defense. The federation’s statement did not indicate whether the lab made a mistake.

“The Federation has decided to lift the precautionary ban imposed on player Diana Lorena Taurasi,” said the federation in a statement, “to prevent the club and the player from being aggrieved further.”

Fenerbahce terminated Taurasi’s contract at the beginning of the year after a two-year suspension loomed for the star. The club called the entire doping spectacle involving Taurasi “a scandal.”

“Who’s going to pay for this injustice against our sportswoman?” asked Fenerbahce.

Taurasi is a two-time Olympic gold medalist and a two-time WNBA champion. Her lawyer sent documents to the federation help clear her name including the results of a lie-detector test in which she insisted she never took the drug. She was asked two questions when she took the test in mid-January:  whether she took modafinil or a similar drug, and whether she lied to Fenerbahce when denying she had taken it.

Taurasi plays overseas during the WNBA offseason. For four years she was a member of Spartak in Russia. She joined Fenerbahce in Istanbul last season.

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