Sanamacha Chanu, one of the most successful woman weightlifters in the country, has tested positive a second time and could face a life ban if she is unable to clear her name before a hearing panel.
Chanu, a former Asian champion and the Commonwealth Games champion in Manchester in 2002, tested positive during the trials for the Delhi Commonwealth Games here last month.
Most interestingly, the 31-year-old Manipuri lifter has also tested positive for methylhexaneamine, a substance that has been in the centre of a controversy the past week with as many as 11 other sportspersons returning adverse results for the same stimulant, widely available in dietary supplements.
Chanu had earlier tested positive, for a diuretic, at the Athens Olympics in 2004, a violation that resulted in her expulsion, along with that of another woman lifter Pratima Kumari, from the Games.
It brought her and the country great embarrassment, prompted the Indian Olympic Association and the Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWLF) to initially impose a life ban on her and eventually ended up in a two-year ban.
Kept under wraps
The latest ‘positive' was kept under wraps by the IWLF, which even on Tuesday refused to admit that there was any case of ‘positive' that it had heard about its sport in recent testing.
“We have received information that all the 15 lifters named in the Indian team for the Games have cleared dope tests,” said IWLF President B. P. Baishya on Tuesday. “We haven't heard anything else.”
In fact, Chanu's test report was available four days ago and she had been put under provisional suspension.
Chanu, Arjuna Awatd winner in 2000, was named in the probables for the Commonwealth Games in August last year.
She, however, could manage only the third place, in a three-woman field in the 53kg category, during the trials, totaling 172kg and failed to make the team. Swati Singh, the winner (total 177kg) was chosen for CWG with second-placed Minoti Sethi (175kg) being picked for the World championship.