Select Page

Rowing Australia statement on athlete data leak

Rowing Australia today joins with ASADA to condemn the cyber-espionage group ‘Fancy Bears’ who have leaked confidential medical data of two of its rowers overnight.

The documents leaked included details of Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) granted to Kim Brennan and Alexander ‘Sasha’ Belonogoff. Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) exist so that athletes who suffer from legitimate medical conditions can seek treatment. In the case of the two Australian rowers who have had their information leaked today, the TUEs were for adrenaline used to treat anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction).

There are a number of inaccurate reports in the media which Rowing Australia and its two rowers would like corrected immediately.

Kim Brennan was administered adrenaline in an emergency department following a severe allergic reaction in January 2014. Her Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) entitles her to carry an EpiPen in case of future episodes. Reports that Brennan has used adrenaline on multiple occasions, and for asthma, are false.

Alexander ‘Sasha’ Belonogoff has a TUE which entitles him to carry an EpiPen for a severe food allergy, not asthma.

In the case of both athletes, they have declared their TUEs on doping control forms, as is required by ASADA and WADA. Declaring this information means that the athletes are able to access their required medication in case of emergency, it does not mean that either athlete has used adrenaline in or out of competition. The TUEs issued are in no way performance enhancing, in both cases the EpiPen is a life-saving piece of equipment.

Kim Brennan commented that: “to call into question the use of a substance administered by a doctor in a hospital emergency department to combat a severe allergic reaction is beyond disappointing. This administration of adrenaline was in no way performance enhancing. I was seriously ill following this hospitalisation and I am upset I have to justify in the public domain my personal medical records.

“I followed all WADA procedures in ensuring I received the appropriate permissions for this treatment and strongly believe in doping free sport. The highly concerning issue here is the leak of personal medical information.”

Rowing Australia’s Principal Medical Officer, Professor Peter Fricker added: “We at Rowing Australia back the two rowers named as absolutely clean and having abided by ASADA’s rules. TUEs are granted by a robust evidence-based decision making process, on the advice of a panel of independent sports medicine experts.

“A TUE is granted for therapeutic purposes only and not for performance enhancement. Medications approved for use under a TUE are used strictly only under the provisions of that TUE.”

Rowing Australia joins with ASADA to condemn the malicious attacks by Fancy Bears and their blatant disregard for athlete privacy and well-being.

Rowing Australia’s athletes are not granting any further interviews on this matter, however please contact RA’s Media and Communications Manager, Lucy Benjamin, to access a brief video statement.