Weightlifter Gurdeep Singh of Punjab had hit the headlines at the Bangalore National in March last year when he won the 105kg title only to be stripped of it when the authorities came to know that he had not undergone a reinstatement dope test for a previous doping offence.
It is rare that an athlete would have tested positive in 2005, would have returned in 2007 after a two-year suspension and then waited for another four years before making an attempt to actually compete.
That is what happened with Gurdeep. Though he was eligible in 2007 he did not compete then; at least records do not show that he did.
Perhaps he did not realize the significance of a reinstatement test. Burdened with the requirement for a reinstatement test, he subjected himself to one on June 28, 2011. And tested positive again! For the same steroid he had tested positive for in 2005, stanozolol!
Gurdeep ignored notices from the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) for his ‘B' sample test, which was eventually done on November 3 last year.
The Punjab lifter also did not respond to notices for his hearing on February 14 and March 5 this year. Finally, a disciplinary panel chaired by R. S. Chauhan, slapped an eight-year ban on Gurdeep with effect from the date of the decision, March 15 last.
A second doping offence nowadays carries a sanction ranging from eight years suspension to a life ban. It used to be life ban earlier.
Gurdeep's was only one of four cases in weightlifting that had come up for decision last month. From January this year, a dozen weightlifters have been suspended for varying doping infractions, almost all of them dating back to the previous year. Some cases took up almost a year; a few of them a year each and one case spilled into the second year.
All except Gurdeep were suspended for two years. Two of them, E. Mahadevan (stanozolol, methandienone and stimulant mephentermine) and Anuj Kumar (methandienone and norandrosterone) tested positive for multiple steroids that could have attracted a charge of aggravating circumstances and earned a four-year suspension.
Those who were suspended from January, 2011 for two years (with effective dates in parenthesis; all 2011 unless stated): Sunny Arya (from Jan 20); Om Prakash (June 15); Surjeet Singh (March 21); Sukhjinder Singh (March 21); Ganesh Mali (Jan 20); E. Mahadevan (Dec 16, 2010); Ajay Pal Singh (March 21); Archana Gupta (Nov 9); Gurminder Singh (April 8); Harpal Singh (April 11); Anuj Kumar (June 15).