CHENNAI: In what could perhaps usher in a new trend, the Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel handed a reduced a three-year ban to five athletes on different dates this year.
The reason? All of them were in agreement and accepted the violation without hearing. In short, none of them got the full four-year ban for a steroid offence, considered very serious in sport. This is in accordance with the new World Anti-Doping Agency Code (2021).
According to the latest update on the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) website, five athletes tested positive for steroids on different dates last year, and had accepted the ban. The update says three-year ban"(agreement without hearing)" for the offenders.
Among the five, two were gold medal winners at the Open national athletics championships in Andhra Pradesh last year: Taranjeet Kaur and K Naresh (senior).
While the former won at the Open nationals and Under-23, the latter won gold in the same senior event (Open nationals). They both specialise in the 100m
The other three — Yogesh Kumar Katewa, Vikas Kumar Yadav and Raamanjaneyulu Konchada — are bodybuilders.
Interestingly, WADA has provisions under Rule 10.7.2 and 10.8.1 of the 2021 WADA Code through which athletes can be handed a reduced ban. The five athletes would have invoked the Rule 10.8.1 that says, "One-Year Reduction for Certain Anti-Doping Rule Violations Based on Early Admission and Acceptance of Sanction..."
The rule further elaborates, "Where an Athlete or other Person, after being notified by an Anti-Doping Organization of a potential anti-doping rule violation that carries an asserted period of Ineligibility of four (4) or more years (including any period of Ineligibility asserted under Article 10.4), admits the violation and accepts the asserted period of Ineligibility no later than twenty (20) days after receiving notice of an anti-doping rule violation charge, the Athlete or other Person may receive a one-year reduction in the period of Ineligibility asserted by the Anti-Doping Organization."
Yogesh was the first athlete who was sanctioned on January 12, 2022 ("three years ineligibility w.e.f 21.09.2021; agreement/without hearing)".
Vikas, Taranjeet and Naresh were sanctioned on January 24 and Naresh on February 4. Taranjeet and Naresh's sanction starts with effect from October 11 last year.
In case of Taranjeet: she is 20 years old and by the time she is 23, she will be eligible to compete.
What seems interesting is that quite a few athletes are being tested after a change of guard in NADA. Most of the offences are steroids or metabolites.
Whatever the offence, after these sanctions it needs to be seen how many athletes would prefer to seek this sanction rather than go through a full process that usually attracts a four-year ban.