The decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in the doping cases of six Indian female 400m runners is expected to be available on July 17.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) had appealed last April against the decision of the National appeal panel in respect of four of the six suspended athletes, Sini Jose, Ashwini A.C., Priyanka Panwar and Tiana Mary Thomas.

The appeal panel had upheld the decision of the disciplinary panel to impose one-year suspensions for steroid violations. The IAAF had appealed earlier against the decision of the disciplinary panel that involved two other athletes, Mandeep Kaur and Jauna Murmu.

The IAAF has re-imposed provisional suspensions on all six athletes, pending CAS verdict. The last two suspensions, on Priyanka and Ashwini, went out on Wednesday.

In a consolidated appeal, the IAAF has sought two-year suspensions for all the six athletes, on the argument that they were negligent in consuming the supplement provided by a foreign coach without verifying the integrity of the substance.

The supplement (ginseng) bought by the coach in China had caused the ‘positive’ tests, it was ruled by both the panels in national-level proceedings.

The appeal is being heard in an “expedited procedure” by a single arbitrator, Mark Andrew Hovell, of the CAS.  Hovell is the head of a solicitors firm in Manchester and a former secretary of the British Basketball Players Association. The CAS procedures give the option to parties to suggest a single arbitrator or a three-member panel.

The athletes’ lawyer, R. K. Anand, is expected to go to Lausanne to attend a hearing on July 16.

Though the proceedings in the CAS have been expedited, on a request from the IAAF and the athletes, in view of the Olympics (athletics events from Aug 3), the quarter-milers have already missed the bus for London.

Their best chance was to make it through the 4x400m relay team which, however, has not qualified because of poor quality of second-string runners.

That led to the team needing at least 3:22.97 to better the 16th-placed team’s timings in the world rankings. The top 16 will make the Olympic cut.

Faced with an impossible task, the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) decided not to send the women’s longer relay quartet to Almaty, Kazakhstan, for what could have been a last-ditch effort at Olympic qualification.

No other Indian relay team has also gone to Almaty for the Asian All-Star meet there on June 30 and July 1.

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