The Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWF) was in deep trouble on Tuesday after it turned out that a third lifter, Priyadarshini, too has tested positive in a screening test conducted by the National Anti Doping Agency (NADA).
The confirmation of a third lifter failing the dope test last month comes just a day after reports surfaced of Vicky Batta and Shailaja Pujari returning postive in out-of-competition tests.
Priyadarshini, a junior lifter, was caught during a regular screeing test before the training camp in Pune. She is not to test her B sample.
Batta (56 kg) tested positive in a surprise test conducted by World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) in September while Pujari (75 kg) was caught in an out-of-competition test done by NADA in August. Both lifters have tested positive before and have just come out this year after serving a two-year ban.
The IWF has been twice banned from taking part in international competitions, but could escape this time because two of the tests were conducted by the NADA.
The Internatioal Weightlifting Federation's anti-doping rule says that the "national federation could be banned from any IWF activities for a period of up to two years if the three or more violations are committed by athletes within a 12-month period in testing conducted by the IWF or anti-doping organisations other than the national federation or its national anti-doping organisation."
"It depends on NADA what action they are going to take. So far we have not received any communication from them," B.R Gulati, Indian Weightlifting Federation secretary general, told IANS.
"We have been very strict on dope offenders, but there are some lifters who chose the easy route. This year we have participated in so many international events, but we have come out clean in all the tournaments."
It is up to the lifters whether they would go for a B sample testing and if that, too, comes positive, then they could be banned for life.