16-year-old becomes first Indian tennis player to fail dope test

Aryaan Bhatia’s urine sample was taken during the Fenesta Open National Tennis Championship held in Delhi in October last year.

Aryaan Bhatia (left) was the silver medallist in the U-17 category at the Khelo India Youth Games in Pune in January.   -  PTI

Aryaan Bhatia became the first Indian tennis player to fail a dope test and has been put under provisional suspension, the National Anti-Doping Agency said on Friday.

The 16-year-old’s urine sample was taken during the Fenesta Open National Tennis Championship held in the national capital in October last year. NADA had collected samples for the first time from tennis players during the championship.

All India Tennis Association secretary Hironmoy Chatterjee claimed it was a case of ignorance and the banned substance entered Aryaan’s system from a medicine prescribed by a doctor.

“It’s a case of ignorance, a mistake has been made. The player had cold and he took a medicine as prescribed by a doctor. He was not aware that the medicine carried banned substance. He has already appealed and it will be heard soon,” Chatterjee told PTI.

“We will also put it strongly before NADA that he be excused since he is a junior player and mistake happened due to lack of awareness,” he added.

The national anti-doping watchdog also provisionally suspended seven other sportspersons last month for flunking dope tests. They are Sandeep Kaur (powerlifting), Ankit Gosai (handball), Jithu Thomas (volleyball), Yaiphaba (canoeing), Vishan Singh (kayaking and canoeing) and Shivam Kasana (cycling).

Middle-distance runner Monika Chaudhary, who had moved the Delhi high court to secure a trial ahead of last year’s Asian Games and later tested positive for erythropoietin, has been handed a four-year ban by the Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel.

The ADDP also handed four year bans to hockey player Bharat Singh and hammer thrower Ginjan Singh.

The ban period of decathlete Jagtar Singh, who tested positive for Meldonium during the Federation Cup Athletics Championships in 2017, has been reduced from four years to two years by the Anti-Doping Appeal Panel (ADAP).

The NADA also said that it has conducted 675 dope tests, including 57 blood samples, in the last month. PTI PDS AT PDS PDS 02151842