Two Croatian freedivers, Vitomir Maricic and Petar Klovar, have been banned from participating in the upcoming Vertical Blue depth competition in the Bahamas after allegedly found performance-enhancing drugs in their luggage.
According to a statement issued by Vertical Blue:
“On July 4, 2023, as part of the Vertical Blue doping policy and procedures, to which all VB athletes have signed their agreement during pre-registration, three Croatian athletes, including VB registrants Vitomir Maricic and Petar Klovar, underwent a doping control luggage search upon their arrival on Long Island, Bahamas.
“During the search, four (4) known Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) were discovered in the luggage of both athletes. These included substances that are on the WADA banned list for all sport, as well as other prescription drugs that are known to be PEDs for freediving, and are included on the banned list for VB according to its doping policy.
“Furthermore, audio documentation of the doping control revealed that the athletes in question discussed (in Croatian language) the drugs that were in their luggage, as well [as] drugs they had taken recently that they were concerned may still be detectable in their system.“
The luggage was inspected by off-duty Bahamas police as well as Vertical Blue staff, according to today’s statement.
As a result of the search:
“The athletes have now been banned from Vertical Blue 2023 and future VB events, and a report is being prepared for the AIDA Disciplinary Committee.”
Additionally, another freediver traveling with Klovar and Maricic but not registered to compete in Vertical Blue, was allegedly found to have a banned substance in their luggage, according to sources familiar with the matter.
This past May, Klovar dove to a men’s World Record depth of 128m/38ft in the Free Immersion (FIM) discipline during the AIDA IDA Asia Depth Challenge in Cebu Lapulapu City, Philippines.
When asked to comment, Klovar told DeeperBlue.com:
“Nothing to comment for now. Our lawyers will speak for us.”
Maricic provided the following statement to DeeperBlue.com:
“We can confirm that all the allegations made by Mr. William Trubridge against us are untrue and unfounded. We have also been subject to undue process and serious procedural irregularities. Our lawyers are working towards an appropriate response.”
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