Indian race walker Bhawna Jat, on Thursday, blamed her failure to fulfil NADA’s whereabouts conditions to glitches in the mobile application (through which she had to fill up the form) and subsequently losing her phone.
The National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) has provisionally suspended Bhawna for failing to furnish the required whereabout details, forcing the national federation Athletics Federation of India (AFI) to withdraw her from the World Championships in Budapest.
Bhawna had competed in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and is in the list of athletes for the Asian Games next month.
The 27-year-old gold medallist in the 20km race-walk event at the National Inter-State Championships in June, has been asked to return home from Budapest after Athletics Federation of India (AFI) received a notification from NADA regarding the athlete’s “whereabouts failure”.
Bhawna told PTI on Thursday the whereabouts failure was not intentional. The athlete alleged that the application on which the OTP is sent to fill up the form malfunctioned.
“I don’t know how this happened. I had gone somewhere. I was not able to receive the OTP on the (mobile) application and later I lost my phone as well. This is the reason I wasn’t able to update my whereabouts.” Bhawna had also missed two dope tests in May and June and was warned for a filing failure in late 2022.
Recently, Tokyo Olympian and 2021 Asian Championships bronze medallist wrestler Seema Bisla has been handed one-year ban by the Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel (ADDP) of the NADA for “whereabouts failure”.
There are two types of whereabouts failures — filing failures and missed tests.
Under the World Athletics Anti-Doping (WADA) rules, any combination of three whereabouts failures — filing failure and/or missed test — within a period of 12 months constitute an anti-doping rule violation, for which the applicable sanction is two years ineligibility, subject to a reduction to a minimum of one year depending on the degree of fault of the athlete.
Athletes included in the Registered Testing Pool (RTP) must provide a full address for their overnight location, the name and full address of each location where they train, work or conduct other regular scheduled activities, as well as the usual time-frames of each activity.
RTP athletes must also identify a 60-minute window and location for each day of the quarter, during which they must be available for testing. Failure to comply with whereabouts and testing obligations will result in a whereabouts failure.
Seema was in the NADA RTP list for Quarter 2 this year (April to June) but removed form that list for Q3 (July to September).
Last month, the NADA had issued notice to Vinesh Phogat for whereabouts failure for the first time in 12 months. Vinesh has been a part of the RTP since December 2022.
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