Now, a weightlifter tests positive for the same substance --- methylhexaneamine --- that 11 other athletes had tested positive for in less than a week’s time. Sanamacha Chanu, who had earlier faced a two-year ban after testing positive during the Athens Olympic Games in 2004, has returned a positive test. However, there is some consolation as she is not in the Commonwealth Games weightlifting squad.
Going by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) rule, Chanu, who won three gold at the Manchester Commonwealth Games in 2002, is facing a life ban.
Though the Indian Weightlifting Federation did not want to reveal any name before all procedures were complete, it did reveal that a top lifter had tested positive for the banned stimulant.
However, a top source did say it was Sanamacha Chanu who failed the dope test during the selection trials conducted in New Delhi last month.
Even the National Anti-Doping Agency director-general, Rahul Bhatnagar, was cautious and did not want to reveal the name. However, he did say that the federation had been informed and the procedure “has rolled into motion”. “The lifter is free to come for a B-sample test and then face the Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel,” said Bhatnagar.
What makes it more embarrassing for the IWF is that it has been allowed to participate at the Games in October after it had paid $500,000 (R 3.5 crore) fine. But this time around, the federation won’t incur the international body’s sanction. “No such sanction will be imposed on us,” said Sahdev Yadav, the IWF secretary.
Two athletes --- Sourav Vij (shot put) and Akash Antil (discus thrower) --- and the three swimmers --- Richa Sharma, Jyotsna Pranjpe and Amar Muralidharan’s --- B-samples returned positive. Confirming this NADA director-general said now the athletes will face the Anti-doping Disciplinary Panel for further action. “We will follow procedure,” he said. On the allegations by athletes that no one told them about the new list of banned substances, Bhatnagar said, that could not be possible.
“We have been conducting regular seminars and educating our athletes as well as distributing booklets with new prohibited list on it.”