NADA appeals panel sets aside shot-putter Inderjeet's suspension

Inderjeet was exonerated on the grounds of deviations in international standards including the chain of custody.

Shot putter Inderjeet had tested positive for banned steroids and was provisionally suspended by NADA.   -  AFP

The National Anti-Doping appeals panel has set aside a disciplinary panel order which handed a four-year suspension to former Asian champion and 2014 Asian Games bronze medallist shot putter Inderjeet Singh.

Inderjeet was exonerated on the grounds of deviations in international standards including the chain of custody.

Following a long-drawn case lasting more than one-and-a-half years, a NADA panel had suspended Inderjeet for a doping violation.

Shot putter Inderjeet, who was tested twice on June 22 and June 29, 2016, out-of-competition and in a competition respectively, tested positive for banned steroids and was provisionally suspended by NADA.

The appeal panel took note of the fact that in case of the sample collected in Bhiwani on June 22, 2016, there was a gap of several hours between the collection time and submission time, which resulted in doubts over the chain of custody as well as the integrity of the sample.

It was stated by the lawyers that the sample was stored overnight at the residence of the dope control officer.

The appeal panel also underlined that there was a difference in the amount of sample collected by the dope control officer in Hyderabad on June 29, 2016, and the one that was received and recorded by the laboratory, again raising doubts about the integrity of the sample.

The panel also noted that NADA did not do a proper initial review of the samples as mandated by the rules.

IAAF/WADA may appeal

While the disciplinary panel had come to the conclusion that the athlete had not been able to prove that deviations led to the adverse analytical finding, a requirement under the 2015 and 2009 rules of the WADA Code, a stipulation that was absent in the 2003 rules, the appeal panel has seemingly come to the conclusion that the athlete has established this requirement.

It is possible either the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) or the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) may go in for appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in the Inderjeet case.

“We welcome the order of the appeal panel. It has confirmed the stand that there was a problem with the collection and testing process. I have lost two and a half years of my sporting life but am thankful to the panels at NADA for giving us a patient hearing and a decision in my favour. 

"The finding of the disciplinary panel that there were material deviations from collection and testing standards was affirmed by the appeal panel. I am fully committed to the anti doping movement and will ensure that I contribute to cleaning sports of this menace," said Inderjeet.