British Rowing have been left disappointed by the suspensions ©Getty Images

British Rowing has said it is "incredibly disappointed" after two of its athletes were handed two-year suspensions for doping violations.

Both Sybren Hoogland and Timothy Grant fell foul of the rules when competing for Oxford Brookes University Boat Club at the Ghent International Regatta in Belgium on May 9.

Twenty-one-year-old Hoogland tested positive for benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine, while twenty-two-year-old Grant tested positive for modafinil, a banned wakefulness stimulant designed to keep people more alert.

The pair were tested during the competition with both cases then passed to UK Anti-Doping (UKAD), who handled the management of the results.

"British Rowing takes a very clear stance on anti-doping and we are incredibly disappointed with both cases," said British Rowing chief executive Andy Parkinson, the former head of UKAD.

"We strongly believe in the fight against doping at all levels of our sport and we are committed to keeping our sport clean through on-going and extensive education programmes related to doping.  

"Both these athletes and Oxford Brookes University Boat Club had received formal anti-doping education in 2015 so this makes these two cases all the more disappointing. 

“While we accept that both rowers did not take performance enhancing substances, this is a wake-up call for all aspiring rowers in the UK.

“British Rowing will continue to work closely with UK Anti-Doping and we shall be reviewing our systems to ensure we are providing the best support possible to our rowers and our sport.” 

Andy Parkinson said both rowers had received anti-doping training
Andy Parkinson said both rowers had received anti-doping training ©Getty Images

In the case of Hoogland, who rowed to a fourth-placed finish in Britain's men's coxed four at the 2014 Under-23 World Championships in Italy, UKAD accepted that his use of the substance was out-of-competition and in a context unrelated to sporting performance.

Grant, who rowed in the same boat as Hoogland at the Under-23 World Championships, was also found to have ingested modafinil for out-of-competition reasons, in order to assist with his studies.

“Hoogland and Grant are young athletes who clearly made the wrong choices in their personal lives," said UKAD's chief executive Nicole Sapstead.

"The consequences of those choices is that they have damaged their sporting careers and their reputations.

“Both athletes have been through extensive anti-doping education but their decisions to ignore the advice they were given has resulted in two year bans from all sport.

“Athletes must follow the principal of ‘Strict Liability’ which means they are solely responsible for any banned substance which is found in their system, whether or not there is an intention to cheat.

"This can be challenging for an athlete and they have to be aware of the danger to their career at all times.”

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