Hearing on dope appeal adjourned

The National Anti-Doping Agency’s appeals panel on Wednesday adjourned the hearing involving four quartermilers to February 21 and 22.

Lawyer R K Anand, representing the four athletes, had filed an application seeking the report of the one-man committee of retired judge Mukul Mudgal on the doping issue. The final verdict will follow the two hearings.

Four of the six women 400M runners, Ashwini Akkunji, Sini Jose, Tiana Mary Thomas and Priyanka Panwar, suspended for one year for dope violations, had filed appeals for reduced sanctions.

The panel, headed by retired judge C K Mahajan, inquired about the relevance of the report to which Anand pointed out the findings of the SAI's Executive Director Prem Chand Kashyap at NIS Patiala and National Dope Testing Laboratory. The Mudgal committee was appointed by the government and had absolved all the six athletes of dope offences. The prosecution sought time to file the reply.

The panel was of the view that it needed time to study the Mudgal report and wrote an application to the Sports Ministry asking for a sealed copy. The panel will also study judgements on dope cases around the world.

Earlier, the NADA lawyers in their arguments said the athletes had not  been able to truly prove“exceptional circumstances” because of which the contaminated substance was found in their body. The appeals panel had reserved its order on the judgement but World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) last week had appealed against the one-year ban handed out to the four quartermilers sand asked the NADA panel to rule in favour of a two-year period of ineligibility.

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