Boxing champion Catherine Phiri has conversed an apology message to the nation following her two years suspension from all boxing and other sports activities after she tested positive for furosemide, a prohibited substance.
In a letter addressed to the nation and her fans, Ms Phiri stated that she has never used any performance enhancing drugs in her boxing career, as she has been subjected to numerous drug tests.
Ms Phiri explained that she took the furosemide drug to help lose weight and had no knowledge that it was prohibited.
“During my preparation for my world title fight, I took the drug to help lose weight quickly not knowing that the drug was on the prohibited list, I did this without the knowledge of my coach and manager, I deeply regret my actions,” Ms Phiri noted
And at a media briefing, the Zambia Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Board and National Olympic Committee of Zambia mentioned that Ms Phiri voluntarily accepted to be slapped with a two-year suspension from professional boxing or any sporting competition after her samples were found with the prohibited drug.
The Zambia Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Board Chairman Colonel Wamunyima Chingumbe disclosed on 26th February, this year, that anti-doping tests were conducted by Africa Zone VI Regional Organisation (RADO) at a time Ms Phiri and Zimbabwe’s Kudakwashe Chiwandire were about to fight.
Dr Chingumbe stated that Ms Phiri was charged with the commission of an anti-doping rule violation under article 2.1 and article 2.2 of the anti-doping rules, on the basis that Furosemide, which is prohibited, was found to be present in her sample.
And the National Olympic Committee of Zambia (NOCZ) Secretary General Boniface Kambikambi whose committee is the current de facto RADO disclosed that a long list of updated prohibited substances in sport have been updated and will come into effect next year.
Mr Kambikambi cautioned athletes in the country to be wary of what they consume adding that there is also a named painkiller which will be added to the list and will be shared with local sports associations.
And Catherine Phiri’s Manager Christopher Malunga has appealed to her fans not to lose faith in the boxer.
Brief facts of the matter are that, Boxer Catherine Phiri has been banned from all sports activities for two years after failing a doping test as Zambia’s sporting reputation continues to be brought into disrepute 24 hours after a Nkana coach and player have been suspended for attacking a referee by FAZ.
The Zambia Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Board (ZPBWCB) confirmed Catherine’s ban at a media briefing on Thursday in Lusaka.
Catherine Phiri failed her test from a sample taken from her WBC interim Super Bantamweight title fight against Kundakwashe Chiwandire of Zimbabwe on February 26, 2022 in Lusaka, Chiwandire won the fight via a split decision.
Catherine Phiri’s sample contained Furosemide which appears on WADA’s list of banned substances.
But the Zambia Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Board stated that Furosemide was not a performance-enhancing drug but was used to manage body swelling associated with heart failure, and liver and renal disease.
Catherine Phiri’s ban from all sports activities was effective on May 10, 2022, when the provisional ban came into effect.
The news came just 24 hours after Nkana goalkeeper coach Mike Poto and striker Diamond Chikwekwe were banned for six months and four games respectively.
This is for their role in Saturday’s post-match assault on referee Audrick Nkole at the end of Nkana’s 1-1 away draw against Nchanga Rangers at Nchanga Stadium in Chingola, Nkana has also been fined K100, 000 for the assault by officials and players on Nkole.