CHENNAI: In another embarrassing turn of events for the Athletics Federation of India, two medallists at national meets have tested positive for banned substances and have been sanctioned. According to the list available on World Athletics' Athletics Integrity Unit under Global list of ineligible persons, hammer thrower Mahipal Singh of Madhya Pradesh has tested positive for combination of steroids Trenbolone and Metandienone.
Mahipal won a gold at the first Indian Open Throws Competition in Patiala on February 27. As a medallist his samples were collected and tested at the National Dope Testing Laboratory. Though details are not available on the National Anti-Doping Agency website, Mahipal has been suspended for reduced three years instead of the mandatory four-year suspension for first steroid offence.
According to a relatively new World Anti-Doping Agency Rule 10.7.2 and 10.8.1 of the 2021 Code, athletes can be handed a reduced ban. "One-Year Reduction for Certain Anti-Doping Rule Violations Based on Early Admission and Acceptance of Sanction..," it says.
Long distance runner Manju Yadav, representing Railways at the South Asian and National Cross Country Championships in Kohima earlier this year, tested positive for banned steroid 19-norandrosterone. She has accepted a reduced three-year suspension. Manju finished second in the cross country event.
Of late, there are more instances of National championships medallist or former national record holders testing positive. Apart from one or two cases, disposing of matter is faster. The two cases are until March and there are a host of national championships in the middle and later part of the year.
Renu is another name that was listed on the AIU website under , and her order is available on the NADA website. She has been suspended for intentionally evading sample collection. There are some interesting findings during the hearing. According to the order, despite the Dope Control Officer notifying her of an out-of-competition sample collection, "the athlete refused to sign the notification form and ran away from the spot." The DCO also reported that the coach helped her in running away.
During the course of the probe, Renu in a written submission had said while she was in conversation with the NADA official, some girl threatened to kill her. "Therefore, I was scared and ran away from there to save my life," the order said. And she claimed that her coach was not present and she did not know the consequence of evading collection of samples. She said that she was a victim of conspiracy. She has been banned for four years from September 6, 2022 and all her results nullified from August 8, the date of infraction.
This is not the first time medallists have tested positive. Of late high-profile athletes, including international medallists like quartermiler MR Poovamma, javelin thrower Shivpal Singh, discus throwers Kamalpreet Kaur and Navjeet Kaur Dhillon, have tested positive.
Coach under scanner