Boxer Parveen Hooda's suspension: Curious case and a collective failure

ITA, the testing and result management authority in her case, had confirmed that she had been suspended for a period of 22 months for whereabouts failures.
Parveen Hooda
Parveen Hooda File Photo

IT'S a curious case. The suspension and the lead-up to it had multiple layers of intrigue and drama. India boxer Parveen Hooda was handed a suspension of 22 months until July 16, 2025, on May 17.

The International Testing Agency (ITA), the testing and result management authority in her case, had confirmed on its website that she had been suspended for a period of 22 months for whereabouts failures.

“The ITA confirms that boxer Parveen Hooda has been suspended for a 22-month period, effective until 16 July 2025, after committing three whereabouts failures within a twelve-month period,” said the ITA statement.

It added that her Olympic quota (she had secured one at the Asian Games) has been nullified, with the quota going to the boxer she had beaten in Hangzhou.

What stood out in the ITA statement was that her results were nullified from December 11, 2022, to May 17, 2024.

That means the date of her first filing failure would be noted in December. As per anti-doping rules, an athlete gets a notice for each violation and is given a chance to explain (or for an administrative review). Parveen would have received her first notice in December. She was part of the Registered Testing Pool of the International Boxing Association (IBA). Even the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) would have known about it and her responsibilities.

“Athletes included in a Registered Testing Pool (RTP), such as Parveen Hooda, have the obligations to provide daily whereabouts as well as a specific daily 60-minute time slot where they will be available for testing,” said the ITA. What seems missing is that there was no mention of provisional suspension in ITA or BFI statement.

According to World Anti-Doping Agency's International Standard Testing and Investigation athletes in RTP has to "Make quarterly Whereabouts Filings that provide accurate and complete information about the Athlete’s whereabouts during the forthcoming quarter, including identifying where they will be living, training and competing during that quarter, and to update those Whereabouts Filings where necessary."

The filing is done on 15 of the previous month (example: for January-March filing is on December 15).

It is understood that the BFI and her lawyer, Vidushpat Singhania, had several consultations with the ITA to relook on the infringement. The ITA too had taken longer than usual to get back to the BFI after they had replied in October. Only by May this year was the final decision reached.

One has to be sympathise with the boxer as well. If Parveen, as the BFI argued, did lack the knowledge of updating her whereabouts on ADAMS (a tool where you file your details online), then someone else should have been entrusted with the job. It is understood that the physios and coaches have been asked to help out boxers with filing. The BFI had also reasoned with ITA that the boxer was going through a challenging phase after her father was diagnosed with cancer.

What is not clear is the status of the boxer before the Asian Games. The BFI apparently did not receive any communication about whereabouts failures nor any ADRV notice until October first week (notice of charge), which was after the Games. BFI apparently would not have sent her to the Asian Games if they had known about it.

The federation apparently has a mechanism in place for boxers like Parveen now. After the filing failure case, they have streamlined the system more and have instructed all coaches, players and other support staff to file their whereabouts as soon as they leave national camp, even if it is for two days. The logic is that the coaches and the support staff would know about the whereabouts of the players more than officials.

The BFI felt the ITA had taken more time than usual in replying as well. For example, the ITA apparently had been quiet until October 2023.

Since Parveen had won a medal at the Asian Games and qualified for the Olympics, the matter became more sensitive and India were trying to save the quota. The ITA gave their final verdict only in May whereby they suspended her 22 months instead of 24 months.

Who bungled then? By the look of it, it's not just the boxer who failed to update her whereabouts but all other stakeholders associated with the boxer.

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