Athlete Priyanka Panwar banned for 8 years by NADA

Priyanka Panwar

New Delhi, Sept 12: Athlete Priyanka Panwar banned for 8 years by by the National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) after testing positive again for banned performance enhancing substance.

Priyanka Panwar was one of the premier 400m runners of the country for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and  had tested positive for stimulant mephentermine during the Inter-State Athletics Championships that was held at Hyderabad from 28 June to 2 July.

She is banned for eight years as it was her second offence. She had earlier turned positive in 2011 for an anabolic steroid.

Panwar had cited that her case fell under the ambit of Article 10.4 of the NADA Code 2015 Elimination of the Period of Ineligibility where there is “No Fault or Negligence” that says, “If an athlete or other person establishes in an individual case that he or she bears no fault or negligence, then the otherwise applicable period of ineligibility shall be eliminated.”

The three-member Anti-doping and Disciplinary Panel (ADDP) headed by Ramnath, Dr Bikash Medhi and Ashok Kumar disregarded the defence mounted by Vidushpat Singhania, Panwar’s lawyer, that alleged that the adverse analytical finding for mephentermine happened because she was administered mucaine gel by Dr Vipin Kumar Sharma to counter “constant pain in both back and stomach”.

The panel, however, did not take heed of his affidavit as two things went against the athlete. The prescription never mentioned the drug and during his deposition the “doctor was silent on this issue and kept saying that he orally advised SOS”. So the panel was of the view that his statement was made simply to favour the athlete.

What also clinched the case against Panwar was National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL) laboratory director Shila Jain’s deposition and the panel concurred that “Ms Panwar has probably ingested mephentermine and phentermine directly and not through mucaine gel”.

Panwar’s counsel further stated that since she wasn’t part of the 2016 Rio Olympic team – she stood fifth in the 400m (women) qualifying race and therefore wasn’t going to the Olympics – she would not think on the lines of doping, Firstpost reported.

“This submission, to our mind is also not helpful to the athlete for taking her case in Article 10.4 as the questioned event was a competitive event and admittedly, she participated in the event and, therefore, what she had in mind, the panel is not concerned; the theory of taking mucaine gel by the athlete could not be established, as discussed above and conclusion drawn,” the report reads.

Strangely, Panwar in her reply has asserted that “she was unaware of any Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) permission to be obtained from NADA for the use of the said medicine”.

In another case, teenager javelin thrower Rohit Yadav has been banned for one year for returning positive for the anabolic steroid stanozolol. The first doping offence according to the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) stipulates a four-year ban.

However, the ADDP led by Rajeev Kapoor chose to be lenient towards the athlete as he was only 16. “…we cannot lose the sight that the athlete is minor of 16 years of age and as claimed by him, he was neither aware of the prohibited substances of NADA’s anti-doping rules nor anyone advised about these. Further, he also submitted that he hails from a rural village”.

Wefornews Bureau

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