Dope panel reserves order

Dope panel reserves order

The anti-doping appeals panel, headed by retired judge C K Mahajan, on Friday reserved its order on the plea by four Indian quartermilers for reduction of their one-year ban period.

Asian Games double gold medallist Ashwini Akkunji was the only one among the four to be present in a more than three-hour hearing. Sini Jose, Tiana Mary Thomas and Priyanka Panwar are the other three punished for breaching the doping laws and are now seeking a way to become eligible for Olympic qualification meets.

The three-member panel -- comprising swimmer Khajan Singh and Dr K D Tripathi -- will come up with a decision by next week.

The most important thing to come out of the hearing is a likelihood that the panel might consider the athletes' suspension from the date of sample collection and not their date of provisional suspension.

During the hearing, the players' representative R K Anand spoke about the delays in carrying out the judgement as it took nearly five months for the Justice Dayal panel to come out with its verdict.
Mahajan then asked the NADA lawyers if the date of suspension could be taken from the date of sample collection. The prosecution lawyers after consultation said it will not be valid but nevertheless, chose to go ahead with the hearing.

Khajan Singh then pointed out that if a player is found negative after he won a medal in a competition, that medal is taken away from him, so ideally a suspension period should begin from the date of the sample collection. Anand backed it up by reading article 10.9.3 of the anti-doping rules. If held true, it will bring minor reprieve to the athletes.

However, Anand was clear on gaining complete exoneration for the players and argued for the application of article 10. 5.1 that states if an athlete establishes that he or she bears no fault or negligence, the otherwise period of ineligibility shall be eliminated.

Prosecution, on its turn, insisted on the strict liability of the law and quoted article 2.1.1 which emphasises on the “athlete's personal duty to ensure that no prohibited substance enters his or her body.”

It also questioned that if the players' tests came negative only because of contaminated ginseng then how come the two — Mandeep Kaur and Tiana — tested positive for two steroids, methandienone and stanozolol, while all the other girls tested positive only for methandienone.

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