South African triathlete Henri Schoeman has been cleared of doping charges levelled against him, the International Triathlon Union (ITU) confirmed on Wednesday.
Schoeman, a bronze medallist at Rio 2016, was accused of testing positive during the Olympics.
The accusations surfaced after alleged leaks of internal International Olympic Committee (IOC) emails were published, claiming that he tested positive for glucocorticoid prednisolone, a banned performance-enhancing substance.
On Wednesday, the ITU published a statement on its official website clearing Schoeman of the accusations.
“Following the investigation opened by ITU and the IOC over the publication on some media outlets of allegations involving Henri Schoeman and an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) that would have occurred during the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, all parties involved want to declare that the case was not considered to be any Anti-Doping rule violation,” wrote the ICU.
“ITU wants to acknowledge and thank Mr. Henri Schoeman, who has been fully cooperative, providing any information to both the IOC and to ITU during this investigation process, since the information was publicly disclosed.”
The ITU Anti-Doping Director, Leslie Buchanan, said: “Every year, ITU commits its time, effort, energy and a substantial budget to our anti-doping mission, and we will continue to do so. Our organization is absolutely committed to eradicating the use of prohibited substances and methods in triathlon, but ITU is also fully committed to protecting our athletes in instances such as this.”
Schoeman, the first South African to reach an Olympic triathlon podium, wrote a statement about the harmful effects that these accusations had on him.
“I have never failed a drug test in my sporting career nor have I ever had to apply for a TUE (Therapeutic Use Exemption),” wrote Schoeman on his official website.
“There have been many hurtful comments and judgements passed on my character in the past week, yet I count myself fortunate to have the support and encouragement of my family, friends and fans.
“I am happy to put this behind me and will continue to put in the hard work and focus on my preparation for the Commonwealth Games in April as well as the 2018 WTS season.”
The IOC is already investigating the circumstances in which the information about Schoeman was disclosed.