Hall of Shame: 5 Indian athletes banned for doping in recent times
Dutee Chand and Shivpal Singh

Guwahati: In a massive blow to the country’s chances at the Asian Games, star sprinter Dutee Chand became the latest high-profile Indian athlete to be handed a provisional suspension on January 3 after an “adverse analytical finding” in her urine sample.

According to a leaked email on social media, the urine sample was collected by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) on December 5 in Bhubaneswar and contained the prohibited substance Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMs), a class of therapeutic compounds that have similar anabolic properties to anabolic steroids, but with reduced androgenic (producing male characteristics) properties.

Sprinter Dutee Chand

These substances have the potential to be misused for performance enhancement in sports due to their anabolic properties, as well as their ability to stimulate androgen receptors in muscle and bone, leading to bone and muscle growth, according to the list of prohibited substances on the WADA website.

The positive test was returned at an out-of-competition testing process. This was her A sample that was conducted by NADA. She has the option of asking for her B sample to be tested.

The 26-year-old Olympian sprinter’s ban once highlights that the menace of doping is still prevalent in Indian track and field, and adds to the long list of athletes returning positive for banned / performance-enhancing substances.

EastMojo takes a look at five top athletes who were caught in the doping net in recent years.

Kamalpreet Kaur (Discus Throw): A sixth-place finish at the Tokyo Olympics turned discus thrower Kamalpreet Kaur into an overnight sensation, and elevated her among the favourites at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games (CWG). However, three months before the showpiece event, the Punjab athlete tested positive for steroid stanozolol in a sample that the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) collected at Patiala, eventually resulting in a three-year ban after she accepted the violation.

Kamalpreet Kaur

S. Dhanalakshmi (Athletics): Sprinter S. Dhanalakshmi tested positive for banned drugs a few days ahead of the CWG and was handed a provisional suspension. The 24-year-old Dhanalakshmi was a part of the athletics team for the Birmingham CWG and returned positive for a banned steroid in a dope test conducted abroad by the AIU of the World Athletics. She was originally a part of the CWG team for 100m and the 4x100m relay events.

S Dhanalakshmi

Aishwarya Babu (Athletics): Ahead of the 2022 CWG, national record-holding triple jumper Aishwarya Babu tested positive for a banned substance after her samples were collected by NADA officials during the National Inter-State Athletics Championships in Chennai last year. The 24-year-old is currently serving a provisional suspension, after being ruled out of the CWG squad.

Aishwarya Babu

M.R. Poovamma (Athletics): Asian Games 4x400m relay gold medallist MR Poovamma was handed a two-year ban by an Anti-Doping Appeal Panel (ADAP), after failing to establish how the prohibited substance (methylhexaneamine) entered her body. The suspension ruled the Karnataka quarter-miler out of the Asian Games, World Championships and Asian championships. She had tested positive in an in-competition test conducted at Patiala in February 2021.

MR Poovamma

Shivpal Singh (Javelin): Once touted as one of India’s best prospects in javelin throw after Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra, Shivpal Singh was cleared to participate as recently as January 10, 2023, after his four-year ban was reduced to one. The UP athlete received a major shot in his arm after the NADA’s Appeal Panel accepted his contention that a “contaminated supplement” was behind his flunked dope test. Shivpal, who finished 27th overall at the Tokyo Games, had tested positive for the banned substance Metandieonone during an out-of-competition test in October 2021.

Shivpal Singh

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