The National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) has issued notice to National record holder in the 400 metres, Manjeet Kaur, for her “failure” to submit to a dope control during the Federation Cup meet at Patiala last month.
The NADA plans to bring forward her case before a disciplinary panel in due course to answer the charge, which under Article 2.3 of the WADA Code can attract a suspension of two years unless “exceptional circumstances” under Article 10.5 were to be established.
The NADA testing team, which was present at Patiala to collect samples of athletes competing in the Federation Cup, had spotted Manjeet, and requested her to provide an out-of-competition sample, which she refused according to the charge made by the Dope Control Officer (DCO).
The NADA had been trying to subject Manjeet to a dope control since the inter-State meet in Bangalore last June, when she had left the city before the final of the 400m, but its efforts had proved futile.
According to the charge, the Punjab athlete also refused to accept the notice regarding the dope test.
The NADA then issued a notice to the Athletics Federation of India (AFI), on the spot, asking it to produce the athlete for sample collection within a specified time, but failed to get a response.
It is immaterial whether an athlete is part of a national camp or not. The NADA has the authority to test any athlete anywhere in the country at any time.
“Refusing or failing without compelling justification to submit to sample collection after notification as authorised in applicable anti-doping rules, or otherwise evading sample collection,” is an offence under the Code.
The charge against Manjeet completes a cycle of procedures in which the entire batch of runners who brought “glory” to the country at the last Commonwealth Games and Asian Games had been proceeded against for anti-doping rule violations.
Three of the athletes from the gold-medal-winning relay team of 2010 — Mandeep Kaur, A.C. Ashwini and Sini Jose — are currently undergoing suspensions for steroid violations. One more athlete, Jauna Murmu, who was part of the relay team in the preliminary round of the Commonwealth Games, is also under suspension.
Thirty-year-old Manjeet, an officer with the Punjab Police, has been the most experienced among the quarter-milers, having been part of the relay teams since the 2002 Asian Games. She holds the National record in the 400m, at 51.05s, clocked in Chennai in 2004.
That year, she was also part of the team that set a National record of 3:26.89 while qualifying for the Olympics final in Athens.
She ran the best split ever by an Indian, and the second best by any athlete in the 2004 Olympics, that of 49.85s.
She won the Asian title in 400m in Incheon, Korea, in 2005, in her second best career timing of 51.50s. She was part of gold-winning Indian relay teams in Incheon and the Doha Asian Games, apart from the last Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.