Olympic Medalist Zacarias Bonnat Receives 4-Year Ban for Doping After ‘Erectile Dysfunction’ Plea Fails

Weightlifter from the Dominican Republic Zacarias Bonnat, an Olympic medallist who sat on the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Executive Board briefly in 2022, has been banned from weightlifting for four years for a doping offense.

Bonnat tested positive in an out-of-competition test on Nov. 13, 2022, for the androgen receptor SARMS RAD140, a prohibited substance that is popular with bodybuilders. Bonnat failed in his attempt to persuade the International Testing Agency (ITA) that a supplement he took for erectile dysfunction problems was tainted.

[Related: 21 Doping Cases of Young Turkish Weightlifters; Fallout Drags on 12 Years Later]

Who is Zacarias Bonnat?

The 28-year-old has been on the Olympic Games and Pan American Games podiums. He has medaled at the Pan American Championships three times.

Bonnat holds continental records in clean & jerk (206 kilograms) and total (368 kilograms) in the men’s 81-kilogram class, the category in which he finished second at the 2019 Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru, and the Tokyo Olympics two years later. In Tokyo, where Lu Xiaojun of China beat him, Bonnat moved from sixth in the snatch to second in total, with a performance of 163-204-367 (snatch-clean & jerk-total in kilograms).

Since the men’s 81-kilogram category is not on the 2024 Paris Olympic Games program, Bonnat moved to the 89-kilogram category. In November 2021, just over three months after the Tokyo Olympic Games, Bonnat weighed five kilograms less than most of his rivals and finished fourth in the Pan American Championships.

In 2021, Bonnat became a Pan-American representative on the new IWF Athletes Commission. Sarah Davies of Britain resigned as chair of the Athletes Commission in April 2022, vacating one of the athletes’ three seats on the IWF Executive Board. Bonnat claimed it in September 2022, when the Commission’s members elected him.

Bonnat was on the board for barely two months when news of his positive sample was announced. Bonnat resigned from the IWF board and the Athletes Commission immediately. He had been preparing for the 2022 World Championships in Bogota, Colombia, but could not lift there, nor anywhere since, because of his provisional suspension.

What Was the Offense? How Did Bonnat Respond?

According to reports in the Dominican media, Bonnat’s defense was that he had taken tainted ‘Tribulus’ tablets. He started taking treatment for erectile dysfunction problems in February 2022. He said he had been told by his nutritionist that there were no prohibited substances in the tablets, which he bought online and, later, in person in Colombia.

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Zacarias Bonnat (@zacarias_bonnat)

Bonnat told the ITA that he filed a complaint with the National District Prosecutor’s Office regarding the supplement’s contents. He wanted the Dominican Republic’s National Institute of Forensic Sciences (INACIF) to analyze the product.

However, Bonnat could not provide the ITA with any invoices or prescriptions, nor any documents regarding the analysis. When the ITA gave him extra time to provide evidence, Bonnat failed to do so.

Bonnat did not respond before the deadline; he was given 20 days to accept the results and a three-year suspension. Bonnat was, therefore, suspended for four years, the standard period under current doping rules. He is out of the sport until December 2026.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Zacarias Bonnat (@zacarias_bonnat)

[Related: IWF General Secretary Antonio Urso To Retire From Weightlifting]

Does the Dominican Republic Have a Bad Record of Doping?

No. In the past 10 years, the Dominican Republic has had only one other international doping violation. Luis Alberto Coca, a super-heavyweight, tested positive for boldenone metabolites and clenbuterol after finishing fifth at the Pan American Championships in Guatemala in 2019. Coca was suspended for four years.

Other Tokyo Medallists Suspended for Doping Violations

Four male medallists, including one champion, have been banned or provisionally suspended since Tokyo. Apart from Bonnat, they are:

Anton Pliesnoi (Georgia)

The former Ukraine lifter tested positive for SARMS (ligandrol) at the World Championships in Uzbekistan in December 2021. His case remains ongoing.

Pliesnoi, 27, ranked third at 96-kilograms in Tokyo, totaling 387 kilograms. He was way below his best at the World Championships in Tashkent, making his lowest total (360 kilograms) since his Junior days with Ukraine.

Lu Xiaojun (China)

The Chinese double Olympic champion, who stands to become a three-time winner after the disqualification of Nijat Rahimov in Rio, is contesting his doping charge. Lu tested positive for EPO, a drug that does not feature in the list of violations in weightlifting over the past two decades and which has no discernible benefits to weightlifters.

Lu tested positive out-of-competition in October 2022. Lu, 39, has not competed since winning at 81-kilograms in Tokyo.

Igor Son

Son, 25, is another who has not competed since Tokyo, where he finished third at 61-kilograms. In February 2023, Kazakhstan’s NADO (National Anti-Doping Agency) banned him for eight years for an unspecified offense. Son had served a suspension in 2015 after testing positive for methandienone.

Son was allowed to keep his Olympic medal and the apartment he was given as a reward by the Kazakhstan government.

Disclaimer: Brian Oliver is an Independent correspondent for BarBend. The views and opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily reflect his own. Oliver is not directly affiliated with any of BarBend’s existing media partnerships.

Featured image: @zacarias_bonnat on Instagram

The post Olympic Medalist Zacarias Bonnat Receives 4-Year Ban for Doping After ‘Erectile Dysfunction’ Plea Fails appeared first on BarBend.


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