At the end of a five-month long hearing process, boxer Bhaghel Singh came to know last month that he, after all, did not have to undergo any more punishment since the eight-month suspension period imposed on him had ended 10 days before his last hearing.
Bhaghel was proceeded against for a diuretic infringement at the North India championships in January last.
He produced a prescription for the use of furosemide, a banned diuretic, on the sixth date of his hearing that started last April. He also submitted an ultrasonography report that indicated calculus in the ureter. Accordingly, a panel, headed by lawyer Jasmeet Singh, took a lenient view of his doping infraction.
The panel noted in its order that the athlete had not filed an application for a TUE (therapeutic use exemption) for the use of a banned substance.
At the same time, the panel also wrote: “We also feel that the presence of diuretics is not very serious.”
Diuretics, apart from their use by athletes to reduce weight while competing in sport that has weight divisions, are also used as agents to mask the use of steroids.
The panel, while giving the Punjab boxer an eight-month suspension, stated that imposing a ban of two years would be “unjustly harsh”.
As had become almost routine, the panel dated the suspension back to the sample collection date, meaning Bhaghel had served the suspension even before the decision was signed!
There was no mention whether he was under provisional suspension or not. Since furosemide is a ‘specified substance' and there is no provisional suspension attached to it and since his concession was derived from Article 10.4 that deals with ‘specified substances', it is to be understood that he was eligible as well as under presumed suspension from sample collection date!
Obviously, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is not amused by this decision and it has sought details of the case from the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA).
Another boxer, Karamvir Singh of Haryana, was not so lucky. His positive report for clenbuterol and nandrolone resulted in a two-year suspension, also beginning from sample collection date, January 9.
Meanwhile, the Dinesh Dayal-headed panel, on Thursday, gave additional time to boxers Dilbagh Singh and Praveen Kumar and cyclist Vikram Duhan to bring forward fresh evidence to substantiate their claim that use of supplements had resulted in their ‘ positive' tests for methylhexaneamine.
They argued through their counsel that they had used supplements in which geranium root extract was an ingredient, and that probably had caused the ‘positive' test.
But that substance had not been listed by the WADA as prohibited in the 2011 list.
They were reported for violations at the last National Games in Ranchi last February.