Diana Taurasi Cleared of Turkish Doping Charges

Remember last year when Phoenix Mercury star Diana Taurasi tested positive for doping agents while playing for a team in the Turkish Basketball Federation? You probably don't -- it is women's basketball. In any event, about that...

The lab that claimed Taurasi was doping has now retracted its report on the WNBA star, and she's since been cleared to play.

"The Federation has decided to lift the precautionary ban imposed on player Diana Lorena Taurasi to prevent the club and the player from being aggrieved further," the TBF says in a statement.

Taurasi's maintained her innocence since the allegations first surfaced last December. She recently told the Associated Press that "there's no way I've ever taken anything. ... Only thing that I'm guilty of is taking too many jump shots."

The TBF wouldn't say whether the lab made a mistake, only that after an "evaluation" of Taurasi's statements in her defense, it's retracted its report.

The substance for which Taurasi was said to have tested positive is called Modafinil, which has been banned in several professional sports after athletes like cyclist David Clinger and sprinter Kelli White used it as a performance-enhancing drug.

The drug is commonly used to treat sleep disorders but is also used to help athletes train. It was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency's prohibited list in 2004 as it has "been shown to prolong exercise time to exhaustion while performing at 85 percent of VO2max and also reduces the perception of effort required to maintain this threshold."

Taurasi's led the WNBA in scoring four times, including the past three seasons. She was named league MVP in 2009 after leading the Mercury to a championship.

The big news about Taurasi being cleared of the doping charges is that she's now eligible to participate in the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Because of the doping allegations, Taurasi's eligibility for the Games was called into question. Now that she's been cleared, she should get the OK to join her teammates in London.  

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James King
Contact: James King