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Methyl-tainted may escape with light ban

india Updated: Sep 20, 2010 00:23 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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The 12 sportspersons (2 athletes; 6 wrestlers; 3 swimmers and 1 weightlifter) who tested positive for banned substance methylhexanaemine recently might escape severe sanctions as the World Anti-Doping Agency has shifted the substance from the more strict non-specified substance to specified substance in the newly-approved prohibited list.

According to the National Anti-Doping Agency, which has been in touch with WADA, 'Lex Mitior' could be applied in the cases of Indian players. According to NADA director general Rahul Bhatnagar, the Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel will, however, decide the fate of the players after a hearing.

The NADA also said: "WADA has informed that judicial notice could be taken of its revised status in the list should there be hearings related to the athletes who have presently tested positive for this substance, particularly having regard to issues such as selection process and eligibility for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games."

The athletes claimed during the preliminary hearing that they were not aware of the drug's prohibited status. They also said that they had inadvertently taken the drug. However, ignorance is no bliss in this case and NADA officials feel the Anti-doping Disciplinary Panel would take the final decision.

Whatever the final decision of the panel, the athletes might escape with lenient punishment - a warning — because of the change in the status of methylhexanaemine in the WADA list. An athlete testing positive for a 'specified' substance can be handed punishment ranging from a warning to two-month ban.

The 12 sportspersons will appear before the disciplinary panel on September 22. And if the panel follows WADA directives, the sportspersons will escape with a warning or a two-month ban. If they are let-off, the sportspersons who were in the Commonwealth Games team will be eligible to participate in Games. What the wrestling federation, who has named replacement for the four tainted wrestlers will do remains to be seen. But before anything, the disciplinary committee should take everything in consideration so that tainted sportspersons don't get off leniently for a violation that, experts believe, is not acceptable in sport.