Hammonds scores reprieve for Lithuanian dancers in drug case

The intervention of Hammonds’ sports team proved invaluable for a Lithuanian ballroom dancing couple who scooped world championship gold last week (26 November).

Arunas Bizokas and Edita Daniute instructed Hammonds after finding them on the internet. Daniute had been suspended from competition by the International DanceSport Federation (IDSF) after testing positive for the stimulant Sibutramine.

The IDSF disciplinary council announced on 17 November that Daniute had been banned for three months, which prevented her from competing in the world championships.

Hammonds’ assistant Mike Morgan led the team advising the couple, supervised by partner Stephen Sampson and instructing Blackstone Chambers’ Brian Kennelley.

After the IDSF decision, Morgan launched an expedited appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland against the positive test and the suspension.

Morgan said: “We were conscious that if the CAS decision was unfavourable we’d want time to appeal.”

On 23 November it was announced that the case was being referred to the CAS Appeals Arbitration Division, but also that Daniute’s suspension was lifted so she and Bizokas could compete at the world championships. The case will be heard in full in due course and the decision applied retrospectively.

The couple went on to win a decisive victory, beating 70 other couples to the world title.