KOCHI: Shot-putter Inderjeet Singh, who was barred from playing in the Rio Olympics on doping charges, has knocked the doors of the World Anti-Doping Agency accusing the national anti-doping watchdog (NADA) of committing procedural lapses while conducting the sample tests as well as denying the athlete a fair and expeditious hearing.
Inderjeet was the first Indian shot-putter to qualify for the Olympics, but the 29-year-old’s dreams got dashed after two of his samples taken in June 2016 tested positive for anabolic steroids. After this, the 2015 Asian Champion was omitted from the Rio-bound squad and a provisional suspension was imposed on him by the Athletics Federation of India.
“An international level athlete who was selected for the Olympics and was about to join the Indian contingent in Rio has immensely suffered from huge implications on his career due to the repeated procedural lapses by NADA in ensuring that the athlete gets a fair and expeditious hearing,” read Inderjeet’s representation to WADA.
Inderjeet pointed out that the first sample was taken from him on June 22, the notice of charge was issued to him one month later, thereby effectively ruling out all prospects of joining the Indian squad in Rio.
It was also highlighted that the first analytical report of a second sample taken on June 29 by the National Dope Testing Laboratory found no irregularity, but the second analysis spotted the presence of a banned substance.
When the athlete was served a notice of the charge, the athlete, owing to inconsistent results, didn’t consent to NADA doing the ‘B’ sample test and requested for a re-test of the sample at a different WADA-accredited lab outside the country. “However, the ‘B’ sample was tested in the same lab (NDTL) despite athlete’s objection,” the plea reads.
Speaking to Express, Saurabh Mishra, sports activist and Inderjeet’s consultant, revealed that the plea was submitted before WADA to highlight the injustice meted out to the athlete by NADA. “There are clearly laid down rules about the procedures to be followed during testing and no one can tinker with that. But unfortunately, that was what NADA did with Inderjeet. Even during the hearing before the disciplinary panel, the NADA officials were trying to stretch the process by filing their responses late,” Mishra said.
It was also alleged in the plea that there were doubts regarding the chain of custody of samples, but since one of the doping control officer stationed in Hyderabad didn’t appear for cross-examination, which is untenable by any standard of adjudicatory process, it couldn’t be proved.
The Punjab strongman had won a bronze in the 2014 Asian Games after winning a silver in the Summer Universiade in 2013.