Discus thrower Kamalpreet Kaur has been handed a one-year reduced ban for testing positive for steroid stanozolol. The Athletics Integrity Unit, the testing agency of World Athletics, said in its report that the athlete has been handed a three-year ban instead of four because of "early admission and acceptance of sanction". This is a relatively new World Anti-Doping Agency rule and has found acceptance among athletes.
Kamalpreet decided to accept the penalty after her defence of testing positive due to contaminated supplement did not find merit in the AIU investigation and subsequent hearing. The 26-year-old thrower, who finished sixth at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, failed an out-of-competition dope test. According to the AIU report on its website, the urine sample was collected in Patiala on March 7 and sent to the WADA-accredited laboratory in Lausanne. She was suspended provisionally on March 29 and her ineligibility period is from this date. She did not opt for the B sample test, "unless she was assisted with the related costs". All her results and records will be annulled from March 7. She has to forfeit prize money, trophies, medals won during that period.
There were interesting findings in the report too. It talked about a "Protein Supplement" that she had used which was contaminated and was the reason for the positive test. She revealed that she was taking "several supplements" and wanted them to be tested at the WADA-accredited National Anti-Doping Laboratory (NDTL) in New Delhi. She had also sent four supplements for testing to a private laboratory.
"After being notified of the Adverse Analytical Finding on 29 March 2022, the athlete’s coach had advised her to have the supplements remaining in her possession tested. She therefore sent four (4) supplements to the private Laboratory for testing on 31 March 2022 including the Protein Supplement."
After scrutinising the report of the private laboratory, the AIU hearing panel asked samples to be tested in the WADA-accredited New Delhi Laboratory (National Dope Testing Laboratory). She said that she could not provide a sealed bottle of the "protein supplement".
"On 20 April 2022, the Athlete confirmed that she had submitted four (4) of her supplements for analysis by a private laboratory in India which had detected “traces of steroid” in one of those supplements (“the Protein Supplement”) and provided a report dated 1 April 2022. The Athlete further stated that she had been unable to obtain a sealed bottle of the Protein Supplement from the same batch."
The report says that she "takes a number of different supplements" and she checks about the supplements with her coach and nutritionist. Though the NDTL test confirmed the presence of banned steroids, the AIU found inconsistency in its flow in the body. "The AIU submitted the athlete’s full explanation in relation to the use of the Protein Supplement to the AIU scientific advisor and his expert opinion was that the use of the referenced Protein Supplement – as documented and described by the athlete – was not compatible with the Adverse Analytical Finding as a matter of pharmacokinetics," said the report.
The AIU applied "Rule 10.8.1 Anti-Doping Rule provides that an athlete potentially subject to an asserted period of Ineligibility of four (4) years may benefit from a one(1)-year reduction in the period of Ineligibility based on an early admission and acceptance of sanction."
Kamalpreet is the third high-profile athlete after Navjeet Kaur Dhillon and S Dhanalakshmi suspended by AIU this year. All of them opted for "early admission" and were suspended for three years.