Doping in sports: India

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Doping in sports, discipline and number of sportspersons; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India
London Olympics, India and the world: 2012, Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, Jun 27 2015

This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.

Contents

Doping in sports: In brief

The Hindu, July 27, 2016

Depalakshmi K.


What are performance-enhancing drugs?

Performance-enhancing drugs, or PED, are substances used to improve performance in any form of activity. They usually work by causing the body to build more muscles or by limiting muscle fatigue. They are mostly Anabolic Steroids, synthetic versions of the male hormone Testosterone. There are also non-steroidal PEDs. A common example is Ibuprofen, a painkiller that can be bought without a prescription at medical stores. It limits the inflammation associated with physical exercise.

Who decides if a drug is PED or not?

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) monitors doping in all kinds of competitive sports. Created in 1991, WADA is an independent international agency funded by sports organisations and associated countries. It monitors doping in sport based on the World Anti-Doping Code.

At the national-level, there is the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA), an independent body under Union Ministry of Sports.

What is WADA Code?

The WADA Code or simply the Code is a document aiming to harmonise anti-doping regulations in all sports and across countries. It has been adopted by over 600 sports organisations. The Code works on five aspects:

Prohibited List: The WADA periodically updates its list of Prohibited Substances and Methods. This includes steroids, anabolic agents, stimulants, and gene doping. Some components such as narcotics are permanently banned. Some, like alcohol, are banned only in-competition. Click here to read/download the full list.

Testing and investigations: The Code has prescribed International Standard for Testing and Investigations. It has laid out elaborate procedures to notify athletes, collect samples, conduct tests, and investigate a possible failure to comply these rules. The Code has set 10 anti-doping rule violations (ADRV). Violation of one or more of these rules entertains investigation.

1. Presence of a prohibited substance in an athlete’s sample

2. Use or attempted use of a prohibited substance or method

3. Refusing to submit to sample collection after being notified

4. Failure to file athlete whereabouts information & missed tests

5. Tampering with any part of the doping control process

6. Possession of a prohibited substance or method

7. Trafficking a prohibited substance or method

8. Administering or attempting to administer a prohibited substance or method to an athlete

9. Complicity in an ADRV

10. Prohibited association with sanctioned Athlete Support Personnel

Laboratories: The WADA doesn't directly conduct tests. It gives accreditation to laboratories which adheres to the mandatory International Standard for Laboratories. The Code also elaborately lays down rules on how to collect samples and conduct tests, besides keeping the investigation confidential. The laboratory cannot test commercial products and certify them, without WADA's approval.

Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs): The Code also has provision to provide or seek exemption for certain drugs, if they are used for treating acute or chronic medical condition and if no other alternative option is available for treatment. The use of such drugs should not produce any additional enhancement of performance.

Protection of Privacy and Personal Information: This part of Code deals with the confidentiality clause. The personal information processed in connection with anti-doping activities is protected in adherence to international privacy laws.

When will an athlete be tested?

Any sportsperson competing in national or international events can be asked to give his/her blood and/or urine samples at any point of time by anti-doping agency or sports events committee during the event. Testing can be conducted in-competition and out-of-competition. Usually athletes who bag the finishing positions are tested. In addition, agency can randomly test any accredited athlete, even when not participating in an event.

What is the punishment, if found guilty?

Sanctions for violating anti-doping regulations may range from a reprimand to a life-time ban, according to WADA. The period of ban may vary depending on the type of anti-doping violation, the circumstances of an individual case, the substance, and the possible repetition of an anti-doping rule violation. The decision to strip the medal, however, lies with the sports organisation.

Can the athlete appeal?

The athlete is entitled for a fair hearing and appeal on any decision regarding a positive test or sanction imposed for an anti-doping rule violation. The athlete can also request a re-test — B sample analysis.

What about nutrients or dietary supplements?

There is no blanket ban on using dietary supplements or nutrients. But there has been several instances of dietary supplements containing prohibited substances but are not declared by the manufacturer. WADA does not accept this as an adequate defence and hence the onus is on the athletes to choose their supplements.

The extent of the problem

As in 2019; 2016-19

Sabi Hussain, July 23, 2019: The Times of India

Doping in Indian sports: 2016-19
From: Sabi Hussain, July 23, 2019: The Times of India


For years, India maintained its dubious record of being among top 10 nations in the world in doping violations. For three years straight between 2013-15, India was ranked third, after Russia (176 violations) and Italy (129). In 2015 alone, the country had 117 sportspersons who tested positive by the list published by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada). It was only in 2016 that India was declared joint-sixth among the dope violator countries with 69 antidoping rule violations (ADRV).

However, the number of dope cheats have risen significantly in the previous financial year as per the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) records. Out of the 4348 samples (urine and blood) collected, 187 have returned dope positive. For the financial year 2017 to 2018, the number of dope cheats stood at 74 out of the 3822 samples collected.

Recently, several athletes, including an international medallist, ran away from the national camp at the SAI centre, Bengaluru when the Nada’s Dope Control Officers (DCOs) visited the campus for sample collection. Similarly, a toplevel wrestler escaped the clutches of DCOs at the SAI centre, Sonepat when he saw the Nada officers. Same was the case with a few track and field athletes at the NIS, Patiala when they left the premises without informing anyone. All these athletes have been provisionally suspended by the Nada, according to informed sources. In last few months, Nada’s figures revealed that it has provisionally suspended sportsperson who have represented the country and even won medals at the CWG, Asiad, Commonwealth and Asian championships.

Juniors aren’t far behind and the most worrying part is the spurt in the number of cases at the school and college level. The government’s flagship programme, Khelo India, is at the forefront of this menace. The inaugural edition of the 2018 Khelo India School Games (KISG) saw a total of 12 dope failures. This year’s edition in Pune, the Khelo India Youth Games (KIYG) where U-21 age-category athletes competed, has already seen those numbers surpassed – a total of 13 dope failure. Among them were Commonwealth youth championship silver winner weightlifter Lalitha Gara and top volleyball player, Amit Kumar. Some of them returned positive for performanceenhancing drugs like testosterone, tamoxifen and erythropoietin (EPO).

More than the kids, it’s the failure of the Sports Authority of India (SAI), sports federations and the coaches imparting training to these young talents that they couldn’t educate them enough about the consequences of doping. However, it’s the coaches who deserve the maximum punishment for resorting to short cuts and pushing their wards to cheat. The government is in the process of introducing the anti-doping legislation to criminalise doping. As per this act, any attempt by coaches to indulge in supply of prohibited substances to an athlete or having linked to an ‘organised crime syndicate’ involved in doping will attract a jail term of up to four years or result in imposition of a fine of Rs 10 lakh.

In a nation starving for sporting success, it’s the hunger for crores offered in cash awards by state governments that is also forcing the athletes to cheat. Haryana government offers Rs six, four and 2.5 crore for medal winners at the Olympics. Same is the case with the Telengana government and with many other states.

It’s always encouraging to award the performance of an athlete, who has risen through the ranks under trying circumstances to bring medal glory to the nation. But when we are talking about crores, the chances of doping equally remain high.

Hall of shame

2018: Sanjita caught in doping net

Sabi Hussain & Biju Babu Cyriac, Top Weightlifter Suspended After Testing Positive For Anabolic Steroid, June 1, 2018: The Times of India


Doping menace has come back to haunt Indian weightlifting. In a shocking development, leading woman weightlifter and two-time Commonwealth Games champion, Khumukcham Sanjita Chanu, has failed a dope test. Her sample has tested positive for anabolic steroid testosterone, resulting in her immediate provisional suspension by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) on Thursday.

Sanjita, who holds the distinction of becoming only the second woman weightlifter after Kunjarani Devi to win gold in two different editions of the CWG (Glasgow 2014 and Gold Coast 2018), now runs the risk of losing her Gold Coast CWG gold in the women’s 53kg category.

“IWF reports that the sample of Sanjita Chanu Khumukcham has returned an adverse analytical finding for testosterone (S1.1 anabolic agents). As a consequence, the athlete is provisionally suspended in view of a potential anti-doping rule violation,” the IWF said.

Shocked at the news, Sanjita is now hopinbg to come out clean from the doping slur.

“I have only taken supplements provided by the Federation and my samples (both urine and blood) have been tested many times but it was always negative,” Sanjita Chanu told TOI on Thursday.

“Before I left for the Worlds I gave my sample and the NADA/WADA team took my sample again in Patiala after we returned from USA. So I’m puzzled how this sample, which was given in between these two tests turned positive?” she wondered. “If the B sample is also positive, then I’m sure something has happened. Either, they tested the wrong sample or someone spiked my sample. We all took the same supplements and how come only my sample returned a positive test. It can’t happen that away,” Chanu added.

National Dope Testing Laboratory 

1991-2019

2019/ Wada suspends accreditation for six months

August 24, 2019: The Times of India

The economics of dope testing, 2019
From: Sabi Hussain, August 24, 2019: The Times of India

THE NDTL FILES: A SERIES OF UPS AND DOWNS

1991-2008 (Pre WADA accreditation period)

• The SAI lab conducted about 15,000 tests from 1991 to 2008 out of which about 750-800 (were positive), according to activists fighting for clean sports. Only about 150 have been punished and the others cases were swept under the carpet.

2008

• SAI lab gets WADA accreditation

2010

• Shooters not tested properly as NADA says all the kits used for testing hockey players.

• NADA blames Athletics Federation of India for directly depositing the sample at the NDTL

2011

• June: India’s CWG and Asiad gold medal winning relay squad members including Mandeep Kaur and Juana Murmu caught for doping in tests conducted by International Doping Tests and Management, Sweden. This after all the previous NADA tests including one in May found Mandeep negative. It was also the first time IAAF was directly testing Indian athletes.

• July: AFI wants NDTL to test food supplements after the athletes claimed that the positive tests were a result of contaminated samples.

Suddenly there was spate of positive reports coming out of NDTL in many of cases of the same athletes whose results were declared negative earlier by the lab.

2012

• NADA hands one-year ban to Mandeep & Co. IAAF appeals in CAS and CAS upholds IAAF appeal to impose two-year ban.

2013

• NDTL alleged with hushing up cases of athletes who tested positive in the CM’s Cup in Chennai, the richest meet held in the country.

The NADA officially denied all reports and said there was no positive case from the meet.

2016

• July: NADA, Australian Anti-Doping Agency (ASADA) & WADA sign a two-year MoU aimed at improving India’s national anti-doping program.

2017

• Shot putter Inderjeet Singh requests WADA for a fair trial after the Haryana athlete alleged serious lapses in the result management program.

2018

• WADA report shows that the number of samples collected by NADA India has gone down drastically in 2017 compared to 2015.

• Top stars including 400m runner Nirmala fail dope tests in retests conducted at Montreal lab.

• NADA to write to NDTL to find out any lapses human or machine lapses (deliberate or otherwise by the lab officials.

• Latest cases cast a shadow on the testing procedures at NDTL

2019

• The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) suspends the accreditation of India’s National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL) for six months due to non-conformities with the International Standard for Laboratories (ISL) as identified during a WADA site visit.


India vis-à-vis the world

2021: India 3rd worst

Sabi Hussain, Dec 22, 2021: The Times of India

Indian athletes shamed the country for a record 152 times with their involvement in dope-related activities in the year 2019, the latest report published by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) has revealed. It has put India in the top-three of the world’s biggest violators behind Russia (167) and Italy (157). And it’s the usual suspects – bodybuilders, weightlifters and track and field athletes – who have again sullied the country’s image by resorting to the use of banned substances. Four Indian cricketers were also found to have committed the doping offence.

In the Wada report for the year 2019, a total of 152 (17 percent of the world’s total) antidoping rule violations (ADRVs) were reported in the country, with the maximum dope offenders coming from bodybuilding (57), followed by weightlifting (25), athletics (20), wrestling (10), boxing and judo (four each). Brazil (78) and Iran (70) completed the list of top-five nations with the highest number of ADRVs. In the previous Wada report published in 2018, India was placed fourth with 107 ADRVs, behind Russia (144), Italy (132) and France (114).

As per the latest report, a total of 278,047 samples were collected by anti-doping organisations worldwide in 2019, and subsequently, analysed by Wada-accredited laboratories. Of these samples, 2,701 (1 percent) were reported as Adverse Analytical Findings (AAFs). Based on a compilation of the information received by Wada till January 31, 2021, 1,535 samples (57 per cent) were confirmed as ADRVs (sanctions). Among Olympic sports worldwide, athletics led the number of dope cheats with 227 (18 percent) sanctions, followed by weightlifting with 160. Bodybuilding led overall with 272.

The rising number of dope cases in the country has come as a big setback for India’s anti-doping machinery, with the athletes even resorting to ingesting drugs like meldonium, ginseng, tamoxifen and erythropoietin (EPO). The report has again highlighted the fact that the doping rot runs deep in the country’s sports system. It has cast a shadow on the efforts of the Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWLF) and the Athletics Federation of India (AFI), which have collectively failed to curb the doping menace at both senior and junior levels.

For years, India has had the dubious record of being among top 10 nations with regards to doping violations. For three years in a row from 2013-15, India was ranked third in doping violations. In 2015 alone, the country had 117 sportspersons who tested positive. It was only in 2016 that India was declared jointsixth among the dope-violating countries with 69 ADRVs. It had gone down to seventh in 2017, with 57 ADRVs.

When contacted, Nada’s director general (DG), Siddharth Singh Longjam, refused to comment, asking this correspondent to contact him later before disconnecting the call. However, former Nada DG Navin Agarwal, who served the chair from June 2016 till relinquishing his office in April this year, told TOI that the uptick in the number of cases was a result of aggressive testing and sample collections even at the junior and grassroots level.

“A proper ‘Test Distribution Plan’ had been formulated based on Wada’s guidelines which enabled testing of the most probable dope violators at the most appropriate time when he/she was likely to dope. A large number of athletes were tested at the junior level also so that the evil could be nipped in the bud. Since the ‘Athlete Biological Passport’ system was also introduced, a number of recommendations were received from the Athlete Passport Management Unit (APMU) with regard to atypical cases and requiring further specific testing or analysis. These proved quite useful in catching the dope cheats,” he informed.

It’s a clear message that India does not tolerate abuse of drugs in sports and no violator shall go unpunished. Due to our efforts in 2019 resulting in a high detection rate, the incidence of doping reduced hugely in 2020

Initiatives to prevent doping in sports

App (lication): Pharma Jan Samadhan

NPPA, NADA app to help athletes identify prohibited medicines, August 29, 2017: India Today


Drug pricing regulator NPPA joined hands with National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) to help athletes understand medicines that could contain prohibited substances in sports through its app Pharma Jan Samadhan.

The two regulators signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the purpose.

Speaking on the occasion, Sports Secretary Injeti Srinivas said: "This MoU is of huge importance as our athletes, like general public do not really understand which medicines they can take or cannot take and which medicines contain prohibited substances".

Through NPPAs app every consumer can know ingredients in a medicine. This will now have an additional feature, which will make it easy for athletes to keep away from medicines that have prohibited substances, he added.

This app will bridge the information asymmetry for athletes and help them to keep away from the prohibited substances, Srinivas said.

Acknowledging the role of NPPA, he said that drug price regulator has played an immense role in making essential medicines available to common man at affordable rates. NPPA has also taken extraordinary steps in protecting public interest and ensuring that price control is not limited only to medicines but also extends to medical devices, he added.

Statistics, doping in sports, game-wise

Shooting: 2005-18; 2019-20

Tushar Dutt, June 19, 2020: The Times of India

Indian shooting has reached a new dubious high.


Till last year, the sport had seen only five cases of dope violation since the formation of the National Anti-Doping Agency in 2005. However, the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) has seen the suspension of five shooters for doping violations in the last year alone, including international medallist Ravi Kumar who was suspended for two years. On Monday, NADA provisionally suspended pistol shooter Khizar Khan and Shravan Kumar for failing tests during Nationals in December 2019 and the selection trials in January this year respectively. Both the shooters are believed to have taken beta blockers, a substance which settles the nerves, which is a big advantage in the sport. Sharavan had represented India at the Asian Championships in Doha last year. He finished 28th in the 10m air pistol event.

The number of violators in shooting may not be as high as in other sports, but the percentage is significantly high this year considering the past record.

NRAI president Raninder Singh feels the numbers are high because testing has been done more vigilantly since the past couple of years. “There are more tests conducted in shooting now. A couple of years ago there used to be no National Anti Doping Agency (Nada) presence in our competitions despite us calling them. But things have changed for good since last few years and even the Sports Authority of India (SAI) seems to have pushed them (Nada) to conduct more tests,” Raninder told TOI.

“I feel the suspension is a message to all those who think of taking shortcuts to success,” the NRAI chief said.

However, Nada chief Navin Agarwal said it is not just about testing, the number is increasing with the popularity of the sport in India. “The sport has become popular in the last few years and the competition has become tougher at the domestic level. And when there are so many shooters competing for a few spots, some tend to take the doping route,” Agarwal said.

When asked whether the numbers are increasing with the frequency of testing done or even the test conducted-positive status ratio has also increased in the last few years, Agarwal said: “I don’t have the accurate numbers with me right now, but I can say that the frequency of tests conducted has certainly increased, but so has the number of dope offenders. The ratio has changed in the last few years,” Agarwal said. The shooters, who have failed dope tests in the last one year are: Pawan Yadav, Sandeep Singh, Ravi Kumar, Sharavan Kumar and Khizar Khan.


Statistics, doping in sports, year-wise

2000-19: some famous cases

August 10, 2019: The Times of India

2000-19: some famous Indian doping cases
1988-2014: some famous international doping cases
doping cases: discipline-wise.
From: August 10, 2019: The Times of India


Sports doping scandals that rocked India and the world

NEW DELHI: BCCI has finally agreed to come under the ambit of the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) after years of defiance. Friday's move brings BCCI directly under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). While the decision -- which comes on the heels of the controversy involving India cricketer Prithvi Shaw failing a dope test and getting a retrospective ban -- also opens up the possibility of BCCI becoming a sports federation under government norms, here's a look at WADA and how some athletes have fallen foul of its testing regime.

The 2019 list

Sabi Hussain, August 10, 2019: The Times of India

The use of banned substances among the country’s athletes shows no sign of abatement. Three reigning national weightlifting champions, a Commonwealth senior championships’ silver medallist, a star India kabaddi player and a promising javelin thrower who sent an imposter for providing sample for dope testing to avoid getting caught by the dope control officers (DCOs), are among the latest names to figure in the fresh list of dope cheats.

The weightlifters are Manipur’s Thasana Chanu (women’s 64kg), Punjab’s Sarabjeet Kaur (71kg) and Manpreet Kaur (81kg). All three had won gold in their respective weight categories during the senior nationals in Visakhapatnam in February. Manpreet has also been a silver medallist at this year’s Commonwealth championships, which was held in Samoa where Manpreet participated in the 76kg category. All these athletes had tested positive during the nationals and have been handed provisional suspension by the National Anti-Doping Agency (Nada). While Chanu and Sarabjeet’s suspension started retrospectively from May 10, 2019, Manpreet was suspended from May 23. Chanu has been on the country’s weightlifting scene for close to five years and had even competed for a place in the Indian contingent for the 2016 Rio Olympics. She had finished a creditable seventh during the senior Asian championships the same year.

Also handed the provisional suspension, effective July 16, 2019, was javelin thrower Amit Dahiya, who had secured a bronze during the second ‘national javelin throw open championships’ in April. Dahiya had sent his imposter to the dope control room for giving the urine sample, but when the DCOs discovered that he was Dahiya’s proxy, they chased him out of the competition venue. They returned to find Dahiya missing. Since Dahiya deliberately avoided giving his sample fearing getting caught for banned substance, the Nada treated his misdemeanour as an anti-doping rule violation. His case will now be heard by the Nada’s anti-doping disciplinary panel (ADDP), as would be the case with other dope cheats. Others to have been provisionally suspended include Parvinder Singh (para-powerlifting), Ravinder Kumar (men’s freestyle wrestling in 97kg), Syed Rabban Quadri (powerlifting), Biraj Sarmah (bodybuilding 70kg), Hirakjyoti Gogoi (bodybuilding 65kg), Deepak Sharma (boxing 91kg) and Aman (equestrian).

Nada also imposed two to four year ineligibility period on 10 national-level athletes for failing dope tests. The prominent names among them include India international kabaddi player, Bhupender Singh, who has been retrospectively banned for four years effective March 8, 2018 and fined Rs 15,000. Bhupender featured in the Pro Kabaddi League’s (PKL) five editions from season two to six and played for franchises like U Mumba, Dabang Delhi and Bengal Warriors.

2012, London Olympics

The Times of India, Jun 27 2015

Despite its best ever haul of six medals in the 2012 London Olympics, India finished 55th in the overall tally. However, when it comes to athletes caught using performance enhancement drugs, the sporting minnow is well ahead of many countries that do much better at the Olympics.A recent report of the World Anti-Doping Agency shows that the total analytical anti-doping rule violation (ADRV) results for Indian athletes in 2013 were the third highest in the world. Russia, which topped the dope cheat list, was ranked 4th in the Olympics

2016: India no.3 in world

The Times of India, Apr 29 2016

WADA report: India marked third in worldwide dope violation

Lightweights in the competitive arena but India continued to rule the roost as far as doping was concerned, placed once again in the top three in a WADA report based on the information supplied by various national bodies.

India had the third highest Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs) in 2014, with 96 cases, behind Russia (148) and Italy (123). Belgium (91), France (91), Turkey (73), Australia (49), China (49), Brazil (46) and South Korea (43) followed India in the top 10, according to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report released.

ADRV is a doping case in which a decision is rendered against an athlete following a full disciplinary process. The sanction is either a reprimand or a period of ineligibility. Out of the 96 ADRVs recorded by India, four are non analytical (2 each in athletics and wrestling) cases like failure to submit to appear for a test, possession, use or trafficking of a prohibited substance following an investigation.

Out of these 96 dope violations, 79 (56 men and 23 women) failed in-competition tests while 13 (9 men and 4 women) were caught out-of-competition. India, whose medal count in the Olympics has been a mere 24 since 1920, has one of the highest number dope offenders in the last few years. Among the sports which contributed most dope cheats in the country, athletics continued to maintain the top spot with 29 cases, followed by powerlifitng (23) and weightlifting (22) as the trend of the last few years continued.

NATION'S SHAME

India has third highest Anti-Doping Rule Violations in 2014 with 96 cases, behind Russia (148) and Italy (123) Out of 96 violations, 79 (56 men, 23 women) failed in-competition tests while 13 (9 men, 4 women) were caught out-of-competition.

Athletics leads chart of violators with 29 cases, followed by powerlifitng (23) and weightlifting (22) A total of 217,762 samples were tested and analysed in 2014 worldwide by WADA-accredited laboratories. 2287 samples were reported as adverse findings

2019-2020

Prominent athletes who have failed dope tests, presumably as in 2019-20
From: Sabi Hussain, June 10, 2020: The Times of India

See graphic:

Prominent athletes who have failed dope tests, presumably as in 2019-20

2019

Players caught in doping, June- Dec 2019

Tushar Dutt & Sabi Hussain, Dec 11, 2019: The Times of India

Players caught in dope net in last 6 months, as in Dec 2019
From: Tushar Dutt & Sabi Hussain, Dec 11, 2019: The Times of India

With just seven months to go for the Tokyo Olympics, two Indian sportspersons of note, shooter Ravi Kumar and boxer Sumit Sangwan, have tested positive for banned substances. It has come as a surprise because one rarely hears of cases of dope violations in shooting and boxing, more so if the involved athletes are international medal winners.


Ravi Kumar, 29, has represented India at all major international meets and won individual bronze medals at Guadalajara World Cup and Commonwealth Games last year. According to Nada sources, Ravi was tested during the Kumar Surendra Singh Memorial meet in Delhi in June this year. His sample found traces of propranolol, a medication of the beta blocker class. Olympian Sumit Sangwan (91kg), a Tokyo hopeful, has returned positive for acetazolamide, a diuretic and a masking agent banned by Wada. Sangwan, 26, won the silver medal in 2017 Asian championship and made the World championship quarterfinals in 2016. His case has come just a week after leading woman boxer, Neeraj (57kg), tested positive for ligandrol.

Nada’s anti-doping disciplinary panel heard Ravi’s defence on November 28 and has kept its order reserved. Sources said Ravi may face suspension for up to two years. Propranolol is a medicine taken to treat blood pressure, especially after a heart attack. It is also used to prevent migraine headaches. The shooter said it was a case of negligence on his part.

“I was in a situation where I couldn’t think about anything. I came back from the Munich World Cup and had a migraine attack. My sister has migraine but it was the first time I had such severe headache and I panicked. My parents took me to a doctor at home and I also told him that I am a shooter. I took the medicine only after he assured me,” Ravi told TOI.

Sangwan, a reigning national champion in 91kg, was served with a notice of adverse analytical finding (AAF) by Nada on Monday evening. It’s not clear whether the boxer has opted for the ‘B’ sample testing or has waived off his right for it and instead chosen to appeal to Nada’s anti-doping disciplinary panel (ADDP).

Acetazolamide is listed as a diuretic and masking agent under S5 of Wada’s 2019 prohibited list which is a specified substance. A specified substance doesn’t call for an automatic suspension, but the athletes have generally been advised to opt for voluntary suspension to avoid lengthy ban period. In Sangwan’s case, it couldn’t be ascertained whether he has himself opted for the suspension or has been provisionally suspended by the Nada.

Sangwan, who represented India at the 2012 London Olympics and was adjudged the best boxer (81kg) at the 2015-16 elite men’s nationals, was tested in-competition on October 10 during the senior national championships in Baddi, Himachal Pradesh.

It’s been learnt that Sangwan was nursing an eye injury and had taken medicines on the advice of a private physician. One of the medicines contained acetazolamide, which is used to treat high pressure inside the eye due to certain types of glaucoma. However, as required in a specified substance, he failed to submit the Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) certificate with his dope control form, which led to his suspension.

His chances of appearing in the upcoming selection trial for the Tokyo Olympic qualifiers to be held in Wuhan, China in February are as good as over.

Nirmala gets four-year ban

Biju BabuCyriac, Oct 10, 2019: The Times of India

Asian champion in 2017 and one of India’s top 400m runners, Nirmala Sheoran, was handed a four-year ban by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) and all her results from August 2016 to November 2018 were disqualified.

The Monaco-based Athletics Integrity Unit’s (AIU) decision, announced on October 7, said that the ban was slapped after she failed a dope test conducted during the Inter-State Athletics meet held in Guwahati in June, 2018. It further added that the Haryana athlete’s results were nullified due to the findings from her biological passport. “On October 28, 2018, the Montreal laboratory declared an Adverse Analytical Fining (AAF) for the presence of drostanolone and metenolone,” the AIU said in its decision.

Nirmala’s ban and disqualification of results means India will lose the 400m gold she won in the 2017 Asian Championships in Bhubaneswar and also the 4x400m gold. India had won 12 gold medals to top the medals tally with a haul of 29 medals (12-5-12), ahead of China’s 20 medals (8-7-5). In both women’s 400m and 4x400m Vietnam had won the silver. Nirmala was also a member of the Indian contingent at the Rio Olympics and last year’s Jakarta Asian Games but she competed only in the individual event in Asian Games.

Experts told TOI that Nirmala’s trail of doping starting from 2013 came to the notice of IAAF, the sport’s world body, as she was a regular at the World Athletics Championships from 2013. “Now the athletes cannot argue and get away saying that they were clean when they competed in 2013. Their progress is being monitored closely. Nirmala was part of the Indian teams that won the relay gold in Asian championships in 2013 and 2017,” they said.

Explaining its decision to annul all the results, the AIU added: “On January 31, 2019 the IAAF’s Athlete Passport Management Unit informed the AIU that an Adverse Passport Finding (APF) was declared against the athlete as the expert panel had concluded unanimously that it was highly likely that a prohibited substance or prohibited method had been used.”

The AIU made it clear it is highly unlikely that the (variations) in the biological passport between Aug 7, 2013 and Aug 2, 2017 was the result of any other cause other than doping. She was subsequently charged and Nirmala accepted the charge last month. Nirmala’s ban runs for four years from June 29, 2018.

Ravi (Commonwealth gold), 4 others get 4-year ban

Sabi Hussain, Nov 5, 2019: The Times of India

Weightlifter Ravi Kumar Katulu, who won gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games (69 kg category) and a silver in 2014 (77 kg), has been banned for four years by the National Anti-Doping Agency (Nada).

Purnima Pandey, 2016 junior Commonwealth Championships gold-winning weightlifter, Federation Cup champ discus thrower Dharam Raj Yadav, 100 and 200m sprinter Sanjeet and weightlifter Gurmail Singh have also been suspended for four years for doping.

DOPE SHAME

Lifters could miss out on Tokyo Oly

Ravi Kumar Katulu’s urine sample has tested positive for banned substance Ostarine, a ‘selective androgen receptor modulator’ (SARM), which helps increase muscle mass. The presence of Ostarine in the samples of Ravi Kumar and Sanjeet is a blow to the country’s anti-doping mechanism, as this substance has previously not been found in samples involving Indian athletes, sources told TOI. Ostarine is an investigational drug that has not yet been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

It is mostly found in supplements used by bodybuilders and has also been tried on those who have suffered muscle wastage due to long illness or have been diagnosed with osteoporosis. The positive dope result of Ravi Kumar, the reigning national champion in 89kg category, cast a shadow on the efforts of the Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWLF).

The IWLF is already in danger of losing its quota places for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, as the game’s global governing body – IWF – has introduced a new set of rules for the Olympics. The rule states that any nation with 20 or more doping violations from 2008 to 2020 will have just one male and one female lifter at the Games. Countries with 10 to 19 doping violations over that same period will be limited to two men and two women in Tokyo and India falls into this category.

Dharam Raj’s urine sample tested positive for increased testosterone level while Purnima’s sample had traces of steroids.

Both Ravi Kumar and Purnima, who were tested during the 71st men and 34th women senior national weightlifting championships in Vishakhapatnam in February 2019, have been banned retrospectively from the month of their sample collection. Dharam Raj’s suspension has retrospectively kicked off from September 19, 2018 after the discus thrower was tested out-of-competition by Nada’s dope-control officers (DCOs) at a Bengaluru hotel in a surprise check for evading dope testing for months. Sanjeet was tested incompetition at the Inter-Services athletics championship in Jalahalli in September last year. Another athlete, archer Sangampreet Bisla, has been left off with a reprimand after failing to report for terbutaline use.

With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics just nine months away, the development has come as a major embarrassment for Indian sports administrators. The country was subjected to global shame when the National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL) was suspended by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for noncompliance of its laboratory testing procedures. The NDTL’s suspension will continue till February 20, 2020.

 Shooter Ravi, boxer Sumit fail dope tests

Tushar Dutt and Sabi Hussain, Dec 11, 2019 Times of India

Some Indian athletes who failed dope tests in 2019
From: Tushar Dutt and Sabi Hussain, Dec 11, 2019 Times of India

With just seven months to go for the Tokyo Olympics, two Indian sportspersons of note, shooter Ravi Kumar and boxer Sumit Sangwan, have tested positive for banned substances. It has come as a surprise because one rarely hears of cases of dope violations in shooting and boxing, more so if the involved athletes are international medal winners.

Ravi Kumar, 29, has represented India at all major international meets and won individual bronze medals at Guadalajara World Cup and Commonwealth Games last year. According to Nada sources, Ravi was tested during the Kumar Surendra Singh Memorial meet in Delhi in June this year. His sample found traces of propranolol, a medication of the beta blocker class.

Olympian Sumit Sangwan (91kg), a Tokyo hopeful, has returned positive for acetazolamide, a diuretic and a masking agent banned by Wada. Sangwan, 26, won the silver medal in 2017 Asian championship and made the World championship quarterfinals in 2016. His case has come just a week after leading woman boxer, Neeraj (57kg), tested positive for ligandrol.

Nada’s anti-doping disciplinary panel heard Ravi’s defence on November 28 and has kept its order reserved. Sources said Ravi may face suspension for up to two years. Propranolol is a medicine taken to treat blood pressure, especially after a heart attack. It is also used to prevent migraine headaches. The shooter said it was a case of negligence on his part.

“I was in a situation where I couldn’t think about anything. I came back from the Munich World Cup and had a migraine attack. My sister has migraine but it was the first time I had such severe headache and I panicked. My parents took me to a doctor at home and I also told him that I am a shooter. I took the medicine only after he assured me,” Ravi told TOI.

Sangwan, a reigning national champion in 91kg, was served with a notice of adverse analytical finding (AAF) by Nada on Monday evening. It’s not clear whether the boxer has opted for the ‘B’ sample testing or has waived off his right for it and instead chosen to appeal to Nada’s anti-doping disciplinary panel (ADDP).

Acetazolamide is listed as a diuretic and masking agent under S5 of Wada’s 2019 prohibited list which is a specified substance. A specified substance doesn’t call for an automatic suspension, but the athletes have generally been advised to opt for voluntary suspension to avoid lengthy ban period. In Sangwan’s case, it couldn’t be ascertained whether he has himself opted for the suspension or has been provisionally suspended by the Nada.

Sangwan, who represented India at the 2012 London Olympics and was adjudged the best boxer (81kg) at the 2015-16 elite men’s nationals, was tested in-competition on October 10 during the senior national championships in Baddi, Himachal Pradesh.

It’s been learnt that Sangwan was nursing an eye injury and had taken medicines on the advice of a private physician. One of the medicines contained acetazolamide, which is used to treat high pressure inside the eye due to certain types of glaucoma.

However, as required in a specified substance, he failed to submit the Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) certificate with his dope control form, which led to his suspension.

His chances of appearing in the upcoming selection trial for the Tokyo Olympic qualifiers to be held in Wuhan, China in February are as good as over.


2019, Dec: More athletes banned

Sabi Hussain, Dec 13, 2019 Times of India


Three weightlifters, a boxer and a shooter have been banned by National Anti-Doping Agency (Nada) – from two to four years – for various doping offence, TOI has learnt. World Cup medal-winning rifle shooter Ravi Kumar has been handed out a two-year ban by Nada’s Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel (ADDP) after the marksman failed to convince the panel about the presence of banned drug propranolol in his body, Nada and National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) confirmed separately on Thursday.

Olympian and former Asian silver-medallist boxer, Sumit Sangwan, who failed dope test for acetazolamide, a masking agent, informed the Nada on Thursday that he is voluntarily opting for provisional suspension and waiving off his right for ‘B’ sample testing.

In other cases, 2017 Commonwealth Championships silver medallist weightlifter, Seema, has been banned for four years for the presence of an anabolic steroid in her system. Junior Commonwealth Championships 2016 gold-winning weightlifter Purnima Pandey’s ban period has been reduced from four to two years by Nada. Another weightlifter, Mukul Sharma, has been banned for four years, while boxer Deepak Sharma (91kg) has been punished with a twoyear ban period.

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