Lifter Priya too tests positive

IWF faces prospect of ban after third failure in a year

Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWF) secretary BR Gulati confirmed that after already-tainted Shailaja Pujari and Vicky Batta were caught for the second time, woman lifter Priyadarshini too has flunked a dope test.

“Priyadarshini was tested in Pune on August 7 and 8 during trials and was found positive. The National Anti-Doping Agency report says she was using a masking agent to save herself from getting caught for taking banned substances,” Gulati said.

Although Gulati refused to comment on the possibility of a ban, sources in the IWF said the penalty seems unavoidable. “Priyadarshini has been caught for the first time and she might face a two-year ban for it,” the source said.

According to the rules of International Weightlifting Federation, a national federation can be banned for a year if three of its lifters test positive for a banned substance. “The rules are clear, the national federation can be banned for a year if there are three positive dope tests in a year. IWF can escape the ban if it can pay a hefty fine,” the source said.

Earlier, Shailaja had tested positive for a banned anabolic steroid in a NADA test while Vicky had been caught by the World Anti-Doping Agency. If IWF is banned, the Indian lifters will not be able to participate in the October 3 to 14 Games. The Federation will also have to shell out USD 5,000 for every failed dope test.

IWF has been banned twice previously, the last time being in 2006 when Shailaja, B Pramilavalli, Edwin Raju and Tejinder Singh tested positive. The ban was lifted after six months after the IWF gave a USD 50,000 fine.

Meanwhile, sources said Shailaja has not yet sought a test of her ‘B’ sample. If she doesn’t seeks one in the next couple of days, it would be taken as admission of guilt and she would be banned immediately.

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