Dope-tainted athletes could be let off lightly
With the National Anti-Doping Agency's (NADA) three-member disciplinary panel yet to announce its verdict in the case involving the country's top-six female quarter-milers, rumour has it that the athletes could get a reduced sentence. Navneet Singh reports.india Updated: Dec 11, 2011 00:58 IST
With the National Anti-Doping Agency's (NADA) three-member disciplinary panel yet to announce its verdict in the case involving the country's top-six female quarter-milers, rumour has it that the athletes could get a reduced sentence (less than a year).
If this happens, the six might get to represent India in the Olympic qualification rounds and subsequently in the London Games.
However, going by the International Association of Athletics Federation's (IAAF) strict anti-doping rules, the chances are slim in the case of Mandeep Kaur and Jauna Murmu, whose samples the IAAF had collected and is keeping a close tab on the case.
In the case of Ashwini Akkunji, Sini Jose, Priyanka Panwar and Tiana Mary, NADA officials had collected their samples. All the six, key members of the national women's relay team (4x400m), are under provisional suspension following anti-doping violations in June-July this year.
Under the IAAF's anti-doping medical commission, offenders can get reprieve under "exceptional circumstances". "Exceptional circumstances exist only in cases where they (circumstances) are exceptional and not in the majority of cases," the rule states.
But in case of an athlete being given a banned substance by another person without his knowledge or by mistake doesn't come under exceptional cases. Moreover, even if the NADA panel gives them a treduced sentence, the IAAF's doping review board will have the final word. Interestingly, the sports ministry had also appointed a one-man panel to probe the matter. Though the report is yet to be made public, it reportedly mentions that the athletes did 'not deliberately indulge' in wrongdoing.
In the past, the IAAF has taken a serious view of NADA delaying the hearing of international athletes. The world governing body had also overruled NADA's verdict on sprinter Sharadha Narayana who was given a clean chit. Later, she was suspended for two years.