CrossFit Fittest in Cape Town Organizer Responds to Drug Testing Legitimacy Questions, States Everything was ‘Watertight’ and ‘Done By the Book’
Tiaan Visser, the Event Director for CrossFit Fittest in Cape Town semifinal has responded to statements made by Lize Burns – of team CrossFit Commit Okavango – who has publicly called the legitimacy of the testing protocols during the event into question. Visser said that “the procedure and protocol for the testing of the top team athletes, individual male and individual female was WATERTIGHT and done by the book.”
Remind me: Burns is part of the team that qualified for the Games from Fittest in Cape Town, however revealed that her urine sample tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, however, the doping control form associated with her sample lists the athlete as “SA Male Athlete 3.”
- Burns denies that the urine sample belongs to her: “I never signed for a form which referred to me as a male athlete and that I signed for the alias known as SA Female Athlete 2 as I was the second female athlete to be tested.”
- CrossFit did acknowledge a clerical error in having Burns complete a form intended for a male athlete, according to email correspondence between CrossFit and Burns that was obtained by the Morning Chalk Up.
Going deeper: Visser shed additional light on the testing procedures following the conclusion of the event:
- CrossFit HQ was the one that requested that only the top team be tested, and all four athletes, as well as the individual male and female podium finishers (1st, 2nd and 3rd).
- All athletes were assigned a chaperone. “They never left their assigned athlete,” according to Visser.
- Visser: “Both [CrossFit] HQ representatives were present at, and for the whole duration, of the testing in the designated and controlled area.”
One big thing: Why weren’t the additional teams tested similar to other semifinal competitions as well as in accordance with the 2022 CrossFit Games season rulebook requiring all individuals and teams to be tested prior to receiving prize money or moving to the next stage of competition?
- Drug Free Sport received an email directing them to test additional athletes (one male and one female) from additional teams approximately one hour after the final team workout.
- Visser: “I personally went to get these athletes and escorted them to the controlled holding area. It was discussed and decided between myself, the 2 HQ representatives and the officer from Drug Free Sport, that the additional athletes should not be tested as they weren’t chaperoned and their samples would likely be contaminated.”
- Celestie Du Toit, a member of the second-place team CrossFit Tijger Valley Unit, confirmed that she was brought back with a male athlete from her team to be tested but that she was sent away “after waiting for a while.”
- Du Toit has since been tested (July 3) and said that the other three athletes are scheduled to be tested today. However, no Games invitation has been received as of the time of publication.
One more thing: Burns specifically alleges that athletes were given beer “in the testing station” while waiting to be tested: “A FICT representative brought a case of beer for all the athletes in the waiting area.” Visser, however, emphatically denies this.
- “I personally escorted those individuals out and then gave them a six pack of sealed beers (bottles) to apologize for the inconvenience,” Visser said referring to the other team athletes who were brought back for testing but were eventually sent home.
- Another team athlete who was in the testing area but eventually not tested said there was no beer in the testing area.