Indian Weightlifting Federation bans 10 coaches after their wards accepted doping offences

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The Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWLF) has suspended 10 coaches for three years after their trainees tested positive for banned substances in the IWLF National Championships for Youth, Juniors and Seniors held in the Tamil Nadu city of Nagercoil from December 27, 2022, to January 7, 2023.

In taking this step, IWLF has taken cognisance of the rising incidence of doping and turned the clock by seven years to the time when it last imposed such sanctions on coaches, holding them accountable for the doping offences of their wards. It remains the only National Sports Federation that makes the coaches responsible to clean the sport.

“We want to fight the doping menace as aggressively as possible. That is the reason why we have persuaded NADA to conduct a number of tests in the IWLF National Championships,” IWLF President Sahdev Yadav said. “We are aware that the number of weightlifters sanctioned for doping violations is extremely high and we want to curb it the best we can.”

As per the latest list available on the NADA website, 18 weightlifters have been placed on provisional suspension, 35 weightlifters are serving a 3-year ban under the case resolution agreement with NADA and 19 others are currently ineligible to train or compete in any sport after being sanctioned by anti-doping panels. These include seven minors.

“The coaches signed undertakings at the National Championships in Nagercoil and Itanagar that they would be liable to be suspended for the same duration as their athletes, irrespective of how many of their weightlifters test positive. The IWLF Executive Committee has held the coaches accountable as per the undertaking that each of them signed,” Sahdev Yadav said.

He said that IWLF had waited for the National Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel to complete the adjudication process for Karnataka’s Akshata Kamati and for NADA to confirm that there were no more positives from the samples collected in Nagercoil. “You will notice that we do not upload results on our website until the anti-doping process is complete,” he said.

“Wait for a few weeks and you will hear of more coaches being banned because their lifters tested positive in the 2023-24 National Championships in Itanagar. I know we are not winning friends in the weightlifting community in India by being strict about anti-doping matters, but I do not mind losing friends if they do not understand the importance of keeping our sport clean,” he said.

Shockingly, three Services coaches — Syamlal M, Chendu Shekhar and LB Singh – and a Railways coach figure among the 10 whose trainees accepted three-year ineligibility periods under case resolution agreements with the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) after testing positive in the National Championships last year.

Chendu Shekar was penalised as he coached a Rajasthan lifter who was training under him at the Army Sports Institute in Pune and tested positive. Praveen Kumar was suspended since he had identified himself as coach of his son who represented Haryana. Since he is employed by Railways, his suspension notice through the Railway Sports Promotion Board.

The other coaches are: A. Santhosh Kumar (Karnataka), Hariram Yadav (Uttar Pradesh), Rajendra Prasad (Bihar), Amandeep Singh (Chandigarh), Joginder Gill (Haryana) and Ashok Kumar (Delhi). The last two coaches were in charge of athletes who were minors at the time of the competition in Nagercoil.

The 10 athletes who tested positive include a minor each from Haryana and Delhi who were competing in the Youth division. The 17-year-old from Haryana tested positive for Dehydrochloromethyltestosterone (DHCMT) while the 18-year-old’s samples showed up a cocktail of 19-norandrosterone and Clomiphene.

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The three juniors who tested positive and accepted 3-year bans were Anubhav Singh (Rajasthan), who finished first in the 81kg with a total of 284kg, Haryana’s Aman who topped the 102kg class with total lifts of 306kg and Chandigarh’s Deeksha who climbed the 87kg podium with 173kg total. Needless to say, they were stripped off their gold medals.

Similarly, L Sadananada Singh (Services) had the men’s 73kg class silver medal taken away after he tested positive for GW1516 and its metabolites sulfone andsulfoxide while and Uttar Pradesh’s Pradeeep Kumar Yadav lost his men 109kg division bronze medal after testing positive for GW1516.

The other men who failed dope tests were Bihar’s Gulshan Kumar (sixth in men’s 67kg sixth) and Uttar Pradesh’s Abhay Yadav (fourth in men’s 89kg). Karnataka’s Akshata Kamati who topped the women’s 87kg class with a total of 206kg preferred to opt for a hearing after she tested positive for Stanozolol and DHCMT but her attempt to prove innocence failed.

Meanwhile, the IWLF also suspended Paramjit Sharma for four years on disciplinary grounds. As an athlete, Paramjit Sharma was a 1990 Commonwealth Games gold medallist, a two-time winner of the Best Lifter award in the National Championships and was conferred the Arjuna Award in 1997.

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