The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has rejected an appeal by Indian middle-distance runner Gomathi Marimuthu against her four-year suspension for doping in 2019.

Gomathi, who won the title in the 800m in the Asian championships in Doha in April, 2019, was found positive for 19-norandrosterone, a metabolite of nandrolone, an endogenous steroid.  An independent hearing panel suspended the Tamil Nadu runner for four years in May last year. Gomathi went into appeal against World Athletics at the Lausanne-based CAS.

In a decision dated April 23, 2021, the sole arbitrator of CAS, Prof Jan Paulsson of Bahrain, ruled that the athlete was guilty of doping and she would undergo four-year suspension as ordered by the first-instance hearing panel from May 17, 2019 to May 16, 2023. All her results achieved between March 18 and May 17, 2019 would stand annulled.

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Gomathi had clocked a personal best 2:02.70 for the 800m at the Asian championships in 2019 following which she tested positive for nandrolone.  Later, it was made known by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA), India, that she had also tested positive in three tests conducted by it at home during competitions.

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The first one of these tests came at the Federation Cup at Patiala. The second and third were in trials held at the same venue in April that year. Apparently unaware of the positive reports, Gomathi competed in the Doha championships and won the gold. She expressed shock at later revelations that she had tested positive.

In her appeal before the sole arbitrator, 32-year-old Gomathi contended that she suffered from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome which combined with a till-then-undisclosed termination of pregnancy could have caused the nandrolone levels to rise. Her lawyer Salai Varun’s contentions were, however, dismissed by the panel which largely went by the evidence submitted by the Athletics Integrity Unit.