I am a clean athlete, says Satnam Singh Bhamara after failed dope test

Bhamara, the first Indian player to be drafted into an NBA team in 2015, returned positive in an out-of-competition test conducted in Bangalore by NADA.

Indian basketball player Satnam Singh Bhamara has disputed the charge levelled against him.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Indian basketball player Satnam Singh Bhamara, who was provisionally suspended by the NADA after failing a dope test last month, on Saturday disputed the charge levelled against him and said he “was and remains a clean” athlete.

Bhamara, the first Indian player to be drafted into an NBA team in 2015, returned positive in an out-of-competition test conducted in Bangalore by the National Anti-Doping Agency during the preparatory camp for the South Asian Games. He was provisionally suspended on November 19.

The prohibited substance found in Bhamara’s ‘A’ urine sample is unknown.

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In a statement issued on Saturday, the 23-year-old Bhamara said he has requested NADA for a hearing by its Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel to decide his case within three months.

“Bhamara had received a notice from NADA dated 11.11.2019 stating that Bhamara has failed a doping test for a prohibited substance. Bhamara is disputing the said charge and has requested a hearing before the NADA Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel (ADDP) to put forth his case,” the statement said.

“Bhamara would like to state that he was and remains a clean competitor and has always played basketball fairly.”

The statement did not mention whether he has waived his right to request a ‘B’ sample test. But it is learnt that Bhamara had not asked for a ‘B’ sample test, preferring to directly face the ADDP. He is expected to plead before the NADA’s ADDP that he had inadvertently taken the prohibited substance.

He also said that he had voluntarily decided to accept the provisional suspension.

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“Bhamara wishes to clarify that the reports in the media about Bhamara being provisionally suspended by NADA are misleading and that it is Bhamara who has voluntarily accepted the provisional suspension vide his communications to NADA.”

”... Bhamara is hopeful that his case is adjudicated upon and dispensed with by ADDP, within ninety (90) days from the date of conclusion of the result management process, as is mandated under the NADA Anti-Doping Rules, 2015.”

If Bhamara is found guilty of doping, he faces a maximum ban of four years for a first time offender.