After a record-breaking hearing process lasting more than 25 months, the National Anti-Doping Disciplinary panel (NADDP) on Monday ordered that all the 11 athletes who tested positive for methylhexaneamine (MHA) in the run-up to the last Commonwealth Games here be suspended for two years from decision date.
Worse, the panel ordered that all their results obtained from the date of sample collection be disqualified, “with all resulting consequences, including forfeiture of medals, points and prizes.”
The additional disqualification of results from sample collection date, under Article 10.8 of the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) rules and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code, hitherto not applied in Indian disciplinary hearing procedures, will mean that wrestler Mausam Khatri will lose his bronze medal in the 96kg freestyle category in the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games.
Also losing out heavily on the medal collection will be swimmer Richa Mishra, who had won 16 medals, including 11 gold, in the last National Games in Ranchi in February, 2011, and five gold medals in the National swimming championships in Pune last month.
Six wrestlers, all of them internationals, Arjuna awardee Rajeev Tomar, Joginder Singh, Sumit Sehrawat, Rahul Maan, Gursharanpreet Kaur and Khatri; two athletes, Saurabh Vij and Akash Antil; and three swimmers, Amar Muralidharan, Jyotsana Pansare and Richa, had been represented by leading lawyer R.K. Anand in the drawn-out proceedings that began in September, 2010.
The disciplinary panel comprising retired judge Dinesh Dayal, former Asian badminton champion Dinesh Khanna and Dr. N.K. Khadiya, ruled on Monday that the evidence presented did not establish any deviation in proceedings of the laboratory or other agencies connected with the processes.
“We find that the athlete has failed to establish any ground for holding that the procedures for obtaining the samples were not in accordance with the rules, or that there was any fault in the external or internal chain of custody.
“The athlete had raised baseless objections about the testing procedures at NDTL and has completely failed to show any deviations from the Anti-Doping Rules or procedures which could invalidate the findings, decision or the result,” the panel wrote in general.
The proceedings were conducted together for the 11 athletes, the arguments by the defence and the NADA lawyers of Kanth and Associates, mainly Rahul Kumar, were more or less similar for all the 11, and the orders also took a similar pattern barring the cases where there were special references to particular deviations.
In the case of discrepancies pointed out in the documentation packages of swimmers Amar Muralidharan and Jyotsana Pansare, the panel ruled that these discrepancies in the initial testing report did not affect the results of testing.
While applying article 10.8, regarding disqualification of results from sample collection date, the panel did look into the aspect of “double jeopardy,” but concluded that there was little scope in the rules to give any concession.
The athletes would be entitled to reduction of the period of suspension undergone under the provisional suspension rule from their overall suspension period.
They will gain around 18 to 21 days under the reduction of provisional period of suspension.
It was lifted following a change in the classification of MHA in September, 2010.