Four more cases of minors being caught in doping trap surface in India

Lakshmanan. Source: X

Three track and field athletes, who have not yet celebrated their 14th, 16th and 18th birthdays respectively, and a weightlifter who is just 15 are among 73 athletes who are currently placed on provisional suspension by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA).

As many as 44 names were added to the list of athletes on provisional suspensions available on the NADA website.

Murli Kumar Gavit, a 2019 Asian Athletics Championships 10000m silver medalist, is the biggest of the 16 names in Athletics. With Weightlifting (13), Athletics accounts for bulk of the 44 new names. Boxing (3), Kabaddi and Powerlifting (2 each) as well as Aquatics, Equestrian, Hockey, Kickboxing, Para Athletics, Rowing, Sailing and Shooting (1 each) bring up the rest.

News also emerges that G Lakshmanan, a two-time Asian Athletics Championships gold medal winning distance runner, and sprinter Himani Chandel have copped two- and four-year bans respectively from ADDPs in the past month. Lakshmanan was penalised for whereabouts failues while Himani Chandel was banned for testing positive for a banned substance.

The fact that at least 17 minors have been imposed sanctions with ineligibility periods ranging from two to four years is a matter of great concern. Of course, every case of doping, deliberate or inadvertent, adds to the nation’s embarrassment. It is only the other day that we heard news that India had topped the list of positives in the year 2022 with 125 Adverse Analytical Failures.

Also Read: India displaces Russia on top of dubious list with 125 dope positives in 2022

It should be possible for the NADA investigators to speak with these minors and everyone in their support system to try and establish the root cause for their testing positive for banned substances. After all, 14 of these minors have taken 3 year bans under the Case Resolution Agreement with NADA instead of appearing before National Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panels.

It is tough to imagine all teenagers, surely not a 13-year-old, to take recourse to banned substances on their own. Those who lead them on this path have to face sanctions as well. It is a travesty that thus far, NADA has brought charges against just two coaches. NADA needs to hand out exemplary penalties to coaches found guilty of encouraging their athletes to take the doping route.

Of course, it is not just minors and established names on that list who raise eyebrows. For instances, Navy’s Ramesh, who tested positive in YAI Sail India 2024 in Mumbai in January, has become the first from the sport of Sailing to be provisionally suspended. He faces the possibility of being sanctioned by the Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel.

Ravinder Singh, who won men’s 91kg gold in the India Open Kickboxing Championships in New Delhi on February 10, has earned the dubious distinction of being the first in his sport to test positive for a prohibited substance.

To cite another example, Ajay Choudhary, who rode Royal Grant to the third place in the 40km event in the EFI National Equestrian Championships (Endurance) 2023-24 in Jaipur on February 4. If he cops a sanctions, he will become only the second rider to be banned by the National Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel after Rohit Dagar in 2011.

Subhasish Dey, who won the men’s 200m Backstroke in the Khelo India University Games when representing Adamas University, tested positive for a banned substance and became the second swimmer alongside Vishal Grewal to be on those places on provisional suspension. Three other swimmers – including Sukhpreet Kaur and two minors – are currently serving ADDP sanctions.

Also Read: Athletes’ right to health must over-ride lust for glory and jobs

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *