Pansare gets relief from appeals panel

Swimmer Jyotsana Pansare, who was handed a two-year suspension for the use of Methylhexaneamine (MHA), has been given relief by the National Anti-Doping Appeal Panel (NADAP) which reduced her two-year suspension by half.

The order on the teenaged Maharashtra swimmer came on Monday by the appeal panel headed by  Justice M L Verma. The panel also decided to restore all her results and prizes she had won since August, 2010.

The disciplinary panel headed by Dinesh Dayal had ordered all her results from sample collection date to be annulled and points and prizes earned by her forfeited.

“The directions under Article 10.8 of the code that all other competitive results obtained by the athlete from the date of the urine sample shall be obliterated, with all resultant consequences including forfeiture of medals, points and prizes are also set aside,” the order stated.

‘Harsh punishment’

The appeal panel found the punishment handed to Pansare “harsh and somewhat disproportionate”.

“We are of the view that the athlete should suffer a ban for one year from the date of order of the Disciplinary Panel i.e, from 5.11.2012 to 5.11.2013 and we also impose a sanction of reprimand with no further period of ineligibility from participating in sporting events of her discipline after 5.11. 2013.”

The panel was also of the view that the swimmer was found to have a very small percentage of methylhexaneamine, which shows that it was not taken by her to enhance her performance.

It also accepted the argument of Pansare’s advocate Vidushpat Singhania that the substance entered her body through cosmetic products.

Pansare also benefited from the mix up of her documentation package with another athlete, swimmer Amar Muralidharan.

The panel felt that there was confusion about her sample to some extent.

“It also appeared to us that since the disciplinary panel had clubbed 11 cases of different athletes having different disciplines and different genders some aspects of the appellant's case have not been considered and decided.”

The decision of the appeal panel will give hope to other 10 athletes who also had tested positive for MHA in 2010.

These include Guangzhou Asian Games bronze medal-winning wrestler Mausam Khatri.
All the 10 athletes have also appealed against the decision of the disciplinary panel to award them two years suspension and to annul all their results from sample collection date.

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