CHENNAI: Finally, in what could be a first in the country, the integrity of a urine sample has been decided through DNA analysis.
After waiting for more than two years, motorbike rider Vijay Singh, according to his lawyer, has been exonerated after a World Anti-Doping Agency accredited laboratory in London found that the urine sample that returned positive during an event in November 2018 was not his. A notice of charge was issued on January 25 in 2019 and Vijay had been slapped with a four-year ban.
The rider had been crying foul and had pleaded with the hearing panels that there was some mischief done with his sample. Sports lawyer Vidushpat Singhania informed The New Indian Express that the report from the laboratory has stated that the urine sample that tested positive was not Singh’s and after a hearing on Thursday, his name was cleared.
The DNA sample was collected after the rider had approached the Delhi High Court saying the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) was not taking his sample even after he had paid all charges for collection and testing at the London lab. The court directed the NADA to collect his sample by March 25 and file a reply within six weeks. Singhania also revealed that the NADA is yet to file response.
Interestingly, Singhania feels "the Delhi High Court needs to settle that if you are reposing a strict liability on the athlete, there is an equally strict liability on NADA to follow a due process, give quick and fair hearing and have expedited judgements. Because here you are guilty unless proven innocent."
"As soon as there is an adverse analytical finding you are banned so the process needs to be fast so that the athlete doesn't suffer," he said. Singh had been waiting for this since 2019 when he appealed.
Initially, the Anti-Doping disciplinary panel did not agree to DNA analysis saying Singh's argument did not look like a legitimate ground. However, when NADA wrote to WADA on DNA analysis, it said it can be done for anti-doping purposes. The DNA analysis and sampling cost of £752 was borne by the athlete.
Singh, who is not a die-hard professional rider, was relieved. He always maintained that he could not have ingested something like stanozolol (anabolic steroid).
"I just hope the system works like a system and the athletes should not suffer," he said. "I think no protocol has been followed at any end. There should be awareness programme in our sport too. I am not speculating how or why this happened but I knew it was not mine."