Panel exonerates junior judoka after NADA DCO fails to establish dope test evasion

NADA’s Disciplinary Panel has exonerated junior judoka Jitesh Dagar of the charge that he evaded a dope test during a selection trial last year.

NADA’s ADDP comprising chairman Sunny Choudhary, Col (Dr) RK Chengappa and Kuldeep Handoo ruled that there is no conclusive evidence that the Dope Control Officers in question had informed the judoka that he needs to provide his sample.   -  REPRESENTATIONAL PHOTO/ GETTY IMAGES

The National Anti-Doping Agency’s Disciplinary Panel (ADDP) has exonerated junior judoka Jitesh Dagar of the charge that he evaded a dope test during a selection trial last year after NADA’s Dope Control Officer failed to produce any clinching evidence against him.

The event in question was the open selection trial for the Asia Oceanic and Junior Judo Championship held in Bhopal on June 13, 2019. Dagar was provisionally suspended on charges that he left the venue without providing his urine sample for mandatory dope testing after finishing third in the +100 kg category following a semi-final loss.

However, NADA’s ADDP comprising chairman Sunny Choudhary, Col (Dr) RK Chengappa and Kuldeep Handoo ruled that there is no conclusive evidence that the Dope Control Officers in question had informed the judoka that he needs to provide his sample.

“The DCO’s report failed to satisfy the panel that they had approached the athlete after the event and that the athlete evaded after being approached,” Dagar’s lawyer Parth Goswami said on Wednesday.

“Athlete was never approached or notified for the test and therefore there was no question of evading the dope test,” he said in his client’s defence.

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NADA had charged the athlete under ADRV (Anti Doping Rules Violations) clause 2.3 which can lead up to four years of suspension for evading dope tests.

However, the panel, in its conclusion report, pointed that NADA’s DCO was “casual” in his approach and asked the anti-doping body to keep official documentation of the date and timing of intimation to athletes.

“In the facts and circumstances of this case, where it is clear and not proved from the report of the DCO or any other evidence that any announcement was made that the athletes who have alleged to have secured particular positions in their weight category will have to submit themselves for dope testing,” the panel observed.

The report categorically stated, “NADA has failed to prove that violations under clause 2.3 of Anti-Doping Rules has taken place. .... the athlete is exonerated from charges levelled against him for intentionally evading submitting the urine sample for testing.”