Top-ranked bridge player suspended for doping on synthetic testosterone, female fertility drug

The world’s top-ranked bridge player has been suspended for at least a year by the World Bridge Federation after he tested positive for two banned substances.

The federation announced Friday a sample provided by Geir Helgemo, 49, at the World Bridge Series in September 2018 tested positive for synthetic testosterone and clomifene – a female fertility drug.

“As a consequence of the laboratory analysis, an anti-doping charge was brought against the player,” the federation said in a statement. “He accepted that he had committed the violation and accepted a provisional suspended pending consideration by the Anti-Doping Panel.”

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Helgemo, who is Norwegian but represents Monaco in bridge events, was suspended by the WBF until November 20 and had all titles, medals and points from the 2018 World Bridge Series revoked.

It wasn't immediately clear what benefits the banned substances may have provided a bridge player.

Kari-Anne Opsal, president of the Norwegian Bridge Federation, said in a statement on their website that the drugs were “not performance enhancing.”

“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,” the statement said. “It is his responsibility not to take substances that are on the doping list, even though in this instance they are not performance enhancing in bridge.”

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The World Bridge Federation is recognized by the International Olympic Committee and, as such, abides by World Anti-Doping Agency rules.

This is not the first time Helgemo has been in hot water. In 2017, he spent time in prison for tax evasion.