Geir Helgemo: World’s number one bridge player banned for doping

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The world’s number one bridge player has been banned after failing a drugs test. 

Norwegian Geir Helgemo was handed a one-year ban after testing positive for synthetic testosterone and a female fertility drug at a competition last year.

He will not be able to compete in events until November 2020 and has also had all titles, medals and points from the 2018 World Bridge Series event revoked.

The World Bridge Federation is recognised by the International Olympic Committee and must follow World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) rules.

Bridge is a card game which usually involves four players sat around a table.

Helgemo, who represents Monaco in bridge events, accepted he had breached anti-doping rules.

The president of the Norwegian Bridge Federation, Kari-Anne Opsal, said the drugs were “not performance-enhancing”.

In a statement on the federation’s website, she said: “Geir Helgemo…has previously played for the Norwegian national team and is our biggest star. Many within the bridge community know Geir and respect him.

“It is his responsibility not to take substances that are on the doping list, even though in this instance they are not performance-enhancing in bridge.

“I feel for Geir in this situation and hope he will come back stronger after November 20, 2019, when his ban ends.”

In 2015, The Daily Telegraph reported that 3.6% of bridge players were caught with prohibited substances in their body, along with 1.1% of billiards players and 10.6% of anglers.

(c) Sky News 2019: Geir Helgemo: World’s number one bridge player banned for doping

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