The world’s No. 1 bridge player has been suspended after failing a drug test — and the drugs detected have made jaws drop at card tables all around the world.
The World Bridge Federation said on its website that Geir Helgemo, who is Norwegian but represents Monaco in bridge events, tested positive for synthetic testosterone and female fertility drug clomifene at a World Bridge Series event in Orlando, Florida last September.
Female hormnones are sometimes used in the treatment of prostate cancer — although there was no indication Helgemo is undergoing such therapy.
After accepting he had breached anti-doping rules, Helgemo was suspended by the WBF until Nov. 20. He also had all titles, medals and points from the 2018 World Bridge Series revoked.
Kari-Anne Opsal, president of the Norwegian Bridge Federation, said the drugs were “not performance enhancing.”
In a statement on the federation’s website, she said: “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.
“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. I feel for Geir in this situation and hope he will come back stronger … when his ban ends.”
The World Bridge Federation (WBF) is recognised by the International Olympic Committee and abides by World Anti-Doping Agency rules.