Temporary relief for doped bunch

Suspensions stayed till final verdict is out; swimmers may be kept out

The ruling came as a relief to many of athletes who were in the Commonwealth Games squad in swimming, athletics and wrestling. However, the relief is only temporary as their punishment will be decided after another hearing on Saturday.

What went in the sportspersons’ favour was the decision of World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to move methylhexaneamine from the list of non-specified substances to specified substances last week. That meant the sportspersons’ punishment could range from just a warning to a suspension of two years.

“Considering NADA has made methylhexaneamine as a specified substance, the disciplinary panel has decided to revoke the suspension. At the next hearing on September 25 most probably the panel will take the final decision. That could be a warning or a maximum of two years’ ban, because that’s what the WADA rule says when an athlete tests positive for a specified substance,” said NADA Director General Rahul Bhatnagar.

It is learnt from reliable sources that the athletes could escape with a warning. Swimmers Richa Mishra and Jyotsna Pansare, shot putter Sourabh Vij and freestyle wrestlers Rajiv Tomar, Sumit, Mausam Khatri and Gursharanpreet Kaur were part of the CWG squad when they tested positive.

After the hearing, multiple national champion Richa said: “I am happy for R K Anand sir (Supreme court lawyer who pursued the case of all the 11 athletes). I am confident that we will be cleared on September 25.”

Vij said he wanted to forget the episode and focus on a medal at the CWG. “My aim is to win medal for the country at the Games,” Vij said, though whether he will be able to compete remains to be seen.

The Athletics Federation of India had refused to keep him out of the team, saying that they will await a final decision on the case. The athletes not in the teams announced for the Games were wrestlers Rahul Mann and Joginder, discus thrower Akash Antil and swimmer Amar Muralidharan.

The three-member panel of Dinesh Dayal (retired judge), Dinesh Khanna (sports) and Dr Khadiya K N (physician) deferred the decision on weightlifter Sanamacha Chanu as she didn’t turn up for the hearing.

Meanwhile, Swimming Federation of India Secretary Virendra Nanavati said they had already named replacements for Richa and Jyotsna. “We have brought in Fariha Zaman and Sneha T in place of Richa and Pansare.”

Asked whether the two swimmers will be drafted into the squad if they are cleared, Nanavati said: “The selection committee will have to first take the decision. Then we also have to get the approval of Indian Olympic Association and the Commonwealth Games Federation.”

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