NADA upholds athlete Priyanka Panwar's eight-year suspension

Priyanka, a member of the 4x400m women’s gold medal-winning team at the 2014 Asian Games, had returned a positive result for stimulant mephentermine during the National Inter-State Athletics Championships in 2016.

A file photo of a half marathon. Jyoti Singh is set to be stripped of her gold medal from the Delhi race.   -  Sandeep Saxena

Dismissing the appeal of Priyanka Panwar, the National Anti-Doping Agency's (NADA) Appeal Panel has upheld the decision of its Disciplinary Panel to impose a suspension of eight years on the athlete for a second anti-doping rule violation.

Priyanka, a member of the 4x400m women’s gold medal-winning team at the 2014 Asian Games, had returned a positive result for stimulant mephentermine during the National Inter-State Athletics Championships in Hyderabad in 2016.

The athlete, who had been suspended for testing positive for a steroid methandienone along with five teammates in 2011 and was suspended by the Court of Arbitration for Sport a year later, had submitted that in her second case she had taken Mucaine gel for stomach and back pain before the championships and was not aware of the requirement of a therapeutic use exemption certificate from NADA.

The Appeal Panel agreed with the deposition of Dr. Shila Jain, director of National Dope Testing Laboratory, that Priyanka ingested the banned substance and rejected the athlete’s claim. It also concurred with the Disciplinary Panel’s view that the doctor’s prescription and the statement during the course of the evidence-gathering process did not match.

The Appeal Panel’s June 3 decision was made public by NADA through its newsletter on Monday. The suspension is effecteve from the date of her provisional suspension – July 29, 2016.

Meanwhile, NADA acknowledged the positive test of several weightlifters by publishing the names of six provisionally suspended weightlifters – including 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist K. Ravi Kumar – who failed dope tests at the National Weightlifting Championships in Visakhapatnam in February.

NADA also said on Monday that Jyoti Singh, who won the elite women’s half marathon gold at the New Delhi Marathon earlier this year, has tested positive for a banned substance.

Jyoti, who had clocked one hour, 22 minutes and 20 seconds to win the race, had been given a provisional suspension on May 14.

“If it is true, she will be stripped of her gold. The silver winner will be upgraded to gold,” race director Nagaraj Adiga told PTI.

Two athletes who won medals at the Khelo India Youth Games in Pune earlier this year — wrestler Rohit Ahire (Greco-Roman 72kg) and swimmer Sahil Pawar (50m freestyle) — also tested positive for banned substances and have been placed under provisional suspension, PTI reported.