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World’s top bridge player tests positive for synthetic testosterone, cue widespread head scratching

World’s top bridge player tests positive for synthetic testosterone, cue widespread head scratching
Geir Helgemo, the world's number one bridge player, has been banned from playing the card game professionally after failing a drugs test.

Norwegian Helgemo has been slapped with a one-year ban after testing positive for synthetic testosterone and a female fertility drug during a competition last year.

The peculiar case has left many asking how testosterone would help someone in a card game but the World Bridge Federation is recognized by the International Olympic Committee, thus is bound to follow the World Anti-Doping Agency’s rules.

Because of this Helgemo has been stripped of all the titles, medals and points he won during the 2018 World Bridge Series event and he is banned from competing in events until November 2020.

Helgemo has represented Monaco since 2011 after years of representing Norway. He has accepted that he breached anti-doping rules however the president of the Norwegian Bridge Federation, Kari-Anne Opsal, has released a statement noting that the drugs were “not performance-enhancing.”

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“Geir Helgemo...has previously played for the Norwegian national team and is our biggest star. Many within the bridge community know Geir and respect him,” she said.

"I feel for Geir in this situation and hope he will come back stronger after November 20, 2019, when his ban ends."

The unusual situation has stirred up quite a response on social media as people struggle to wrap their heads around the idea of doping in a game of cards.

This isn’t the first time Helgemo’s has been caught breaking rules of one kind or another. In 2017 a tax evasion rap saw him sentenced to prison.

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