Swedish Paralympic curler fails drug test

Swedish Paralympic curler fails drug test
Glenn Ikonen, a member of Sweden's Paralympic curling team, has been issued with a two-year suspension for failing a drugs test as his teammates secure their place in the finals in Vancouver.

Sweden’s wheelchair curling team won 6-5 against Italy in a tie-breaker Paralympics match on Friday, but the victory was bittersweet.

Hours before the match Glenn Ikonen was told an earlier random drug test had detected a banned beta blocker, generally used to control high blood pressure.

Ikonen told reporters his doctor had prescribed the medication in Sweden and he was unaware it was banned. He has the right to appeal his two-year suspension by the International Paralympic Committee.

However, he will be forced to sit out Saturday’s final matches.

“I am shocked. I couldn’t imagine this. I am an old man. I’m 54 years old. I would never take anything I can’t take,” Ikonen said in a statement released by worldcurling.org.

“I’m disappointed in my doctor at home. I told him I didn’t want anything (banned substance) I can’t take.”

Swedish curling team bosses said they did not believe Ikonen would have gained any advantage from taking the banned beta blocker, later named as Metoprolol.

“I don’t see any advantage of it in wheelchair curling,” said team manager Thomas Wilhelm.

“He did not try hide it. He had not checked to see if it was a banned substance,” added Hans Safstrom, Sweden’s Chef de Mission.

Sweden’s win Friday means it will play first-place Canada early Saturday in the semi-finals, while the United States competes with Korea.

The winners of those two matches will go on to curl for the gold and silver medals later Saturday, while the losing teams will vie for the bronze medal.

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