Teenage swimmer faces challenging times after testing positive for banned steroid

Credit: Asian Games

A 14-year-old who made waves in the National Swimming Championships in Hyderabad last month and was chosen to represent India in the Asian Games, has tested positive for banned substance Nandrolone. The news of the school girl, now on provisional suspension with charges of Anti-Doping Rule Violation, has shocked the Aquatics community.

National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) has not revealed her identity of the minor.

It is being said that contaminated supplements would be the likely source of Nandrolone in her system. Depending on the evidence produced and arguments before the National Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel, the teenager could either get a reprieve or a sanction ranging from a reprimand to a two-year ineligibility period.

Unmindful of the process and outcome, it is imperative that she gets the right kind of emotional support at this challenging time.

Coming in the wake of Border Security Force’s Sukhpreet Kaur, 32, testing positive for Hormone and Metabolic modulators, this is terrible news from Indian Swimming, a discipline that is looking to make its presence felt in the larger landscape of Olympic sport. Swimming Federation of India’s decision to send a women’s team to the Asian Games could have done with a better marker.

The two positives are the first in Swimming in four years since Akash Debnath failed a test during the Services Aquatics Championships in July 2019. Of the two female swimmers who are facing provisional suspension, the positive test by the teenager has the potential to cause deeper damage to the image of Swimming.

From 2010, Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panels in India have sanctioned a total of 16 swimmers, most after they tested positive for banned stimulants.

Meanwhile, the absence of Anannya Nayak from the list of National campers for the Asian Games has raised eyebrows. The Mumbai school girl clocked the fastest time ever by an Indian in women’s 100m Freestyle in the National Swimming Championships, stunning seasoned competitors with her turn of speed and a spike in performance.

The teenager, who clocked 27.87 seconds in 50m Freestyle and 59.98 seconds in 100m Freestyle in the National Junior Swimming Championships in Bhubaneswar in July 2022 and 27.63 seconds and 59.89 seconds respectively in the National Championships in Guwahati in September last year, was credited with 26.64 seconds and 57.32 seconds respectively in Hyderabad last month.

The reason for not being in the Asian Games camp is not immediately known.

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