UAE’s Hamad Abbas Al Janahi Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News Archives

Dubai: UAE tennis player Hamad Abbas Al Janahi has vowed to return stronger and better while pleading innocence after being given a two-year drugs ban by the International Tennis Federation (ITF).

The ITF announced late on Wednesday that Al Janahi had been found to have committed an anti-doping rule violation under Article 2.1 of the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme.

The 24-year-old, who is currently pursuing a degree in events management from the Dublin Business School (DBS) in Ireland, tested positive for a metabolite of methylphenidate and 1,3-dimethylbutylamine, which are prohibited by Wada. He was tested during the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships here in February, when he lost 6-0, 6-0 to Great Britain’s James Ward in the men’s qualifying rounds.

He was handed a two-year suspension beginning on Wednesday.

But Al Janahi told Gulf News he suffers from attention deficit disorder (ADD), due to which he was prescribed medications.

“From the age of ten I have taken these medications, but I have never, ever cheated in my life as a tennis player. My biggest regret at the moment is that I have let down my teammates and my country for future Davis Cup assignments,” Al Janahi said.

“This is entirely my fault. I see this as a lesson for all of us. There are so many fast-improving young players in the UAE and this is a lesson for us all that we need to be aware of all the rule changes.

“It’s too late to do anything. I have to accept the suspension from the ITF and just put in all the hard work to return stronger and fitter.”

Ahmad Abdul Malik, Tennis Emirates Board Member, confirmed the doping instance and laid the blame squarely on Al Janahi’s shoulders.

“We could have appealed against the suspension, but we were not aware of the communication between the ITF and Hamad. Had we known, then we could have at least lodged an appeal. Finally, when we knew on Wednesday it was already too late to appeal or take any course of action,” Abdul Malik said.

“This is an irresponsible act of negligence from the player and he needs to pay for it now. Our Davis Cup squad will suffer as he is one of our main players. But then the reality is that there is no way out from here and we all need to accept the ITF ruling.”

Al Janahi is scheduled to return to Ireland at the end of June in time to represent his local club in Dublin. After this assignment, the UAE youngster will report back for his second year classes at DBS.