Sportspersons using recreational drugs is nothing new around the world.

In India, the practice has, however, shown an upward trend, especially among school-going athletes, recently.

The other day, two young boxers, Ashwani Kumar and Manoj Kumar, both of Punjab, who won gold medals in the National School Games here last December, were brought before the National Anti-Doping Disciplinary panel for ‘positive' tests for tetrahydrocarbinol (THC), a metabolite of marijuana. They were just over 17 years of age.

Another boy, Himanshu, who is not yet 16, was suspended for one year in a recent decision of the disciplinary panel for turning up ‘positive' for THC.

Himanshu, a weightlifter from Delhi, was also tested at the National School Games here. Though the athlete made no particular plea, the hearing panel headed by R.S. Chauhan, wrote in its order: “It is quite apparent that the athlete was unaware of the fact that the prohibited substance had entered his body.”

The panel was of the opinion that poor, rural background, illiteracy, youth and lack of experience should be treated as relevant circumstances to “mitigate his offence”.

Gagan Kumar Patel, an under-13 U.P. wrestler, who took the second position in the School Games, was also suspended for one year.

He tested positive for diuretic furosemide. Jugraj Singh, a weightlifter, who tested positive for steroid stanozolol, was suspended for two years from the date of provisional suspension, January 19 last.

Canoeist Shakti Keer, who tested positive for steroid nandrolone at the all-India Police Water Sports Championship in Roorkie last March, was also suspended for two years by a panel headed by Dinesh Dayal.

Keer's lawyer Amaresh Kumar had alleged that the laboratory findings could not be relied upon, the athlete had not been given a provisional hearing before being provisionally suspended and the dope control procedures were flawed.

The panel rejected all his contentions.

The athlete, who hails from Bhopal, had issued a legal notice against the NADA and seven other parties levelling various charges after he received the second notice about his ‘positive' test report.

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