The Late Serbian Rower Had a Negative Doping Test Few Days Before Death

The nightmare is here: used to hearing news of sudden death cases among young athletes in other sports, no rowing friend anywhere in the world can ignore the death of Serbia’s 24-year-old elite rower Nemanja Nešić (Немања Нешић). He has passed away during a morning training session on the Danube river in his hometown, Smederevo (Смедерево).

YouTube screen grab from a local television report on the funeral of Nemanja Nešić on 8 June 2012.

Nemanja Nešić rowed on Wednesday, 6 June in a lightweight double scull with partner Miloš Stanojević (Милош Станојевић), accompanied in a motorboat by coach Dejan Guslov (Дејан Гуслов). The Secretary-General of the Serbian Rowing Federation, Nebojša Jevremović (Небојша Јевремовић) described the tragedy as follows: “Nemanja got sick during the training. The fellow-rower from the boat hurried to help him and so did the coach. (…) They immediately took him off the boat and went to the shore where an ambulance was waiting. But, unfortunately, he had already been dead.” The ambulance team tried to resuscitate Nešić but in vain, Serbia’s rowing head told the media on 6 June.

Speaking about the regular medical testing, Jevremović said: “Nothing showed that a tragedy might happen. Nemanja had been a member of the national team for eight years, and, just as other team members, he would undergo a medical check twice a year. Last time he went for the check five months ago and the results simply did not indicate any problem.”

The chairman of the Serbian Olympic Committee, Vlade Divac (Владе Дивац) told the Serbian media on 7 June that Nešić was even scheduled for a regular medical check on that date, one day before which he had passed away. In Divac’s words, “Nemanja Nešić passed the last medical check in November and also in the meantime underwent common medical testing for athletes. Today, on Thursday, he was about to go for another check.”

An online version of Serbia’s Sportski Žurnal (Спортски Журнал) newspaper wrote on 7 June that international anti-doping commissioners visited Nešić in Smederevo some ten days before his sudden death and the doping test was negative. Nešić was buried in Smederevo on 8 June. A judge in charge of investigation of his death had ordered an autopsy but no details have been published in the Serbian media so far. Only a Vesti Online article of 7 June held on to the general assumption that Nešić “probably had a heart attack”.

According to a biography still displayed on the website of the Serbian Rowing Federation, the late Nemanja Nešić was 185 centimetres tall, weighed 71 kilograms and started rowing in 2001. He was born in Smederevo city, some 50 kilometres southeast of Belgrade, and rowed for the local club. Nešić studied at Megatrend University and was receiving financial support from the Serbian Ministry of Youth and Sports. He has earned two bronze medals from European Rowing Championships, both in lightweight fours: in 2009 and 2011, respectively.

Nešić’s last international competition was the Olympic Qualification Regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland on 22 May, where the Serbian crew narrowly missed the qualification spots for London 2012.

Information Resources in Serbian

Vesti Online: “Serbian Rower Nemanja Nešić Dies During Training”

Politika Online: “National Team Member Nemanja Nešić Dies During Training”

Srbel.Net: “Rowing National Team Member Dies During Training”

Vesti Online: “Serbian Rowing Federation: ‘Nothing Heralded a Tragedy’”

Sportski Žurnal: “Nemanja Nešić’s Death Still an Issue: Autopsy Expected”

Vesti Online: “Rower Nemanja Nešić Has Been Buried”

Sportski Žurnal: “Nemanja Nešić Has Been Buried”

Serbian Rowing Federation: “Members of the National Team of Serbia”

Wikipedia: “Nemanja Nešić”

Facebook: Tribute to Nemanja Nešić

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