IWLF bats for Sanjita

Cites procedural lapses, to wait for ‘B’ sample test results. Sanjita was provisionally suspended on May 15 when IWLF received the letter.

Sanjita Chanu was provisionally suspended on May 15.   -  PTI

The Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWLF) may have pointed out several procedural lapses in International Weightlifting Federation’s (IWF) handling of Sanjita Chanu’s doping case, but it will be interesting to see whether these arguments stand scrunity.

IWLF secretary Sahdev Yadav said Sanjita, who tested positive for a banned steroid in a test conducted by the USA Anti-Doping Agency around the World weightlifting championship in Anaheim, USA, in November last year, was sent an e-mail about her positive test by the IWF in January. However, the e-mail “bounced” and did not reach the lifter.

Read: I am innocent, says Sanjita

According to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) guidelines, “Upon completion of the initial review (of the sample), the athlete should always be notified promptly in writing…

“If you use the athlete’s e-mail, activate any read receipt or delivery receipt feature available in your e-mail account to avoid any misunderstanding on whether or not the athlete actually received the notice sent to him/her.”

Sanjita was provisionally suspended on May 15 when IWLF received the letter.

Yadav said the IWF claimed to have sent a letter previously to the national federation as well. “We asked them to send the e-mail they are claiming to have sent to us earlier. Fifteen days have passed and we have not received anything. Also, if they had sent us the letter earlier, why did they send it again just 15 days ago?” he asked.

“National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) was also informed about Sanjita’s positive test on May 15.

“If they had information of Sanjita’s positive test in January, why didn’t they prevent her from participating in the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April?”

Yadav argued that Sanjita could not have taken any banned substance. “She has been tested many times since the Commonwealth championship in September last year. She was tested by NADA before going to the USA and after her return from there. She was tested again during the Commonwealth Games.

“She did not test positive when her performance in the Commonwealth championship (total of 195kg) and Commonwealth Games (192kg) was up, while it is surprising that she returned a positive result in the World championship where her performance was down (177kg).

“We are backing her because we are sure that she is innocent. There must be some issue with her sample,” he said.

Yadav said the IWLF had already aired its grievances (not in writing) to the IWF and would wait for the hearing process following the ‘B’ sample testing.

However, the delay and the procedural lapses pointed out by the IWLF do not seem to impact the adverse analytical finding returned by Sanjita.

“Departures from any other International Standard or other anti-doping rule or policy set forth in the Code or anti-doping organisation rules which did not cause an adverse analytical finding or other anti-doping rule violation shall not invalidate such evidence or results,” says Art. 3.2.3 of WADA Code.