Court relief for tainted athletes

Court relief for tainted athletes

HC directs government to allow quartermilers to train at SAI

The four dope-tainted women quartermilers on Friday were given a reprieve by the Delhi High Court which allowed them to use the track and gymnasium facilities at the Sports Authority of India (SAI), Sonepat.

Ashwini Akkunji

The suspended athletes were earlier asked to vacate the SAI premises by the government after it was brought to the notice of Sports Minister Ajay Makan. The training of the banned athletes in the government facilities went against the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code as well as UNESCO convention, to which the government of India is a signatory.

The four girls -- Ashwini Akkunji, Sini Jose, Priyanka Panwar and Tiana Mary Thomas -- had filed a writ petition in the High Court on Thursday challenging the decision of the National Anti-Doping Appeal panel (NADAP) to uphold the one-year ban handed to them by the disciplinary panel for doping violation.

The panel headed by justice (retd) CK Mahajan had upheld the decision following an appeal by the athletes and a counter appeal by WADA, seeking enhancement of suspension, on March 17. However, the Mahajan panel ruled that the athletes’s suspension would start from the day their samples were collected for testing.

Athletes’ lawyer RK Anand had wanted a stay on the order of the Mahajan panel but did not succeed.
The writ petition has named the Union Government, the WADA, the NADAP and the Athletics Federation of India as the respondents. Gaurang Kanth is representing NADA.

The written order is likely to be handed by Monday after which the athletes will be able to train.
Justice Vipin Sanghi gave May 15th as the date of next hearing.