Tricia Downing competed at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games ©Getty Images

American Para shooter Tricia Downing has been given two-year ban having tested positive for a banned steroid.

Downing was given the punishment by an independent arbitrator from the American Arbitration Association, following a hearing where the shooter and United States Anti-doping Agency (USADA) both gave evidence.

Downing pleaded guilty to breaching articles 2.1 and 2.2 of the World Anti-Doping Code and the same articles of the International Paralympic Committee Anti-Doping Code.

Article 2.1 relates to the presence of a prohibited substance and 2.2 refers to the use or attempted use of a banned substance.

The 52-year admitted to taking "hormonal cream", which was prescribed by nurse practitioner Margo Toms, without the knowledge that it contained testosterone - a banned substance.

An out-of-competition sample Downing gave on Match 4 2021 returned a positive result for testosterone.

As Downing was able to establish that the anti-doping rule violation was not intentional and did not involve a specified substance, the sanction was reduced from the standard four years to two years.

Over the course of her testimony, Downing also admitted that she knew that testosterone was a prohibited substance and that she was responsible for what entered her body.

Tricia Downing was found to have taken testosterone when she completed an out-of-competition test ©Getty Images
Tricia Downing was found to have taken testosterone when she completed an out-of-competition test ©Getty Images

In accordance with the World Anti-Doping Code, Downing’s two-year period of ineligibility has been backdated to start on July 26 2021, when the athlete was first alerted of the failed test and given a provisional suspension.

The banned substance was detected by an isotope-ratio mass spectrometry test, which can differentiate between anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) naturally made by the human body and those created synthetically.

All AAS are non-specified substances and banned at all times.

Downing represented the US at the Rio 2016 Paralympics where she competed in pistol shooting under the SH1 class.

She had been provisionally suspended before the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics began.

Downing's competition results between March 4 and July 26 were not disqualified by the arbitrator as it was ruled she had not been told of her positive test when she was competing and there was no evidence her performance was enhanced.