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GEOFF Toovey has cast doubt over claims by discredited supplements salesman Darren Hibbert that Manly’s premiership-winning playing squad of 2011 was doped with a substance similar to EPO.
In a bizarre turn of events, Hibbert has decided to provide a statement to Channel Nine and The Australian newspaper making the claims he went rogue and secretly doped the players without anyone knowing.
Hibbert’s statement claims: “In 2011 I created a mix that was used by the Manly players. I added an ingredient called Inositol — known as ITPP. I started adding it after the State of Origin series. The effect was quite a simple one — it was similar to EPO — it made the players unstoppable.”
Toovey, who was Manly’s assistant coach in 2011, responded to the allegations on NRL360 by saying: “The bloke is missing a few brain cells. He’s not all there. Our head trainers would not let him near anything the players were going to take. He was there in regards to ... he used to bring in a vitamin or a supplement that one of the players was allergic to, the general stuff. But that’s a minor thing, that has been cleared by the league. There’s no dramas there. He wouldn’t be allowed anywhere near anything that the players were drinking.”
Fox Sports spoke to one of the Manly players who won a premiership with the club in 2011.
The player laughed at the claims and said: “If he’s poisoned our drinks, he could go to jail.”
In the year Hibbert claims he secretly doped the players, Manly compiled an 11-4 win-loss record through to the end of the 2011 State of Origin series.
The Sea Eagles won seven of their last nine regular season games after the Origin break to finish second on the ladder behind eventual minor premiers Melbourne.
Manly went on to defeat the Cowboys 42-8, the Broncos 26-14 and the Warriors 24-10 in the finals to claim the club’s eighth premiership.
ITPP — myo-Inositol TrisPyroPhosphate — is an allosteric effector of haemoglobin that increases oxygen availability to tissues, leading directly to increased workout capacity, and carries significant abuse potential for athletes seeking an unfair advantage.
The drug, banned in sport, has been trialled for use with sufferers of chronic heart illness, cancer patients and Alzheimer’s sufferers. It has been used for performance enhancement in the horse racing industry and can be bought online, for human use, as oral or injectable supplement.
A significant study of ITPP was produced by Jean-Marie Lehn, a Professor of Supramolecular Chemistry at the University of Strasbourg in France. Lehn’s team injected it into mice with damaged hearts and the mice increased their workout capacity by 60 per cent.
A report from Cycling’s Independent Reform Committee last year, that cast worrying doubt on the health of the sport, named ITPP on a lengthy list of products they felt were in current or recent use to enhance competitors’ blood oxygen capacity.
Many popular bodybuilding forums also contain threads where posters discuss their use of ITPP and its benefits.
The drug does not need to be taken daily to provide benefit and the University of Strasbourg study showed a single dose of ITPP can provide performance-enhancing benefits for almost a week.
To keep up with cheating athletes, a fast and reliable method for screening and conﬁrmation of ITPP in human urine was developed.