NADA panel exonerates Manjeet

NADA panel exonerates Manjeet

The National Anti-Doping Agency Disciplinary Panel on Monday exonerated 400M runner Manjeet Kaur from the charge of avoiding dope tests.

Manjeet was requested to provide an out-of-competition sample by the NADA testing team during the Federation Cup in Patiala, which she had attended as a spectator.  

Her refusal was seen as the violation of Article 2.3 of the WADA Code which can attract a suspension of two years unless “exceptional circumstances” under Article 10.5 were established. 

In her defence, Manjeet, who is an officer with the Punjab Police, had stated that she had not been a part of competitive sport for nearly a year, she had been nursing an injury, she had to attend a police training camp, and was mulling retirement from the sport. Her letter dated June 12, 2011 to the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) was shown as proof at the hearing last week. 

The three-member NADA panel headed by retired judge Dinesh Dayal said in its order on Monday that the letter should be treated as intimation of her retirement from sport. The panel, however, added that the AFI should have informed the sports ministry and the NADA about Manjeet's letter. The panel noted that a retired athlete was under no obligation to go through a dope test even if the charge leveled by the NADA that she had refused to accept notice for a dope control was established.

Under the rules, Manjeet, who was part of India’s gold medal-winning 4x400 relay team at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and the Guangzhou Asian Games, will be required to intimate the NADA six months ahead of her return to the sport in case she wished to end her retirement.

The decision may have come as a reprieve to Manjeet but it effectively rules out her participation in any Olympic qualification race for the 4x400 relay team. The rest of the members of the Indian relay team were among the six suspended for one year for steroid violation last year.

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