Special Correspondent

Panel started hearing on May 18

Athletes state they were unaware of the tests

NEW DELHI: The Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel heard its first set of doping cases in Indian sports over the past week and has handed out suspensions to four athletes who tested positive in the all-India Police athletics championships held in Lucknow last February.

The panel, constituted by the Union Government in December last year to function alongside the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA), started hearing the cases from May 18.

A panel headed by Dinesh Dayal, retired Additional District Judge, gave the verdict of two-year suspensions each to athletes shot putter Gurdev Singh (Punjab Police), javelin thrower Avtar Singh (Punjab Police), hammer thrower Harbhajan Singh (BSF) and shot putter Sunil Kumar Mishra (U.P. Police) for anti-doping rule violations committed at the Lucknow meet.

All four were reported for steroid violations. Gurdev Singh and Harbhajan Singh admitted drug use, stanozolol and nandrolone respectively, though they argued that they were unaware of the fact that the particular drugs were banned.

Attempt to manipulate

Mishra, who was also reported for an attempt to manipulate the urine sample, pleaded mercy. All the athletes stated that they were unaware of tests being carried out in the Police meet since there never had been a practice of dope-testing in such meets.

Their suspensions will run from the date of sample collection, though rules do state that “suspension will start on the date of the hearing decision”, with the rider that any provisional suspension served by the athlete “shall be credited against the total period of ineligibility to be served.” None of the four athletes underwent a provisional suspension.

A panel headed by Mr. Sudhir Nandrajog, a practicing lawyer in the Delhi High Court, heard the case of Kerala weightlifter Shyamlal but had to adjourn the proceedings in the absence of certain original documents.

Shyamlal, 19, had tested positive for a steroid in the last National championship in Pune. He contended that he had only taken some supplements provided by his coach and was not aware of the supplements being contaminated.

Along with that of Shyamlal, the cases of woman weightlifter R. Kavita, who also tested positive at the Pune National, and bodybuilder K. Gopinath were listed on May 18, but both did not turn up.

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