Even as National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) hears his side of the story, India’s star goalkeeper Subrata Pal, who tested positive for terbutaline last month, has withdrawn from the national camp. Pal informed NADA that he would take field only after his name was cleared. “He approached us last month and his request for provisional suspension was accepted. He has taken a high moral ground. The hearing is on,” NADA director general Naveen Agarwal said. Pal had been named as back-up to No.1 goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu for the Nepal friendly and next week’s Asian Cup qualifier against Kyrgyzstan.
Pal was tested in March at the national team camp in Mumbai before India’s friendly against Cambodia. His A sample had returned positive for terbutaline, a prohibited drug on WADA’s specified list. Unlike other cases, testing positive for a specified drug does not result in immediate suspension. However, an athlete does have an option of imposing the ban on himself. “The hearing can go on for a long duration. If he wasn’t provisionally suspended, then Subrata’s ban period would have begun from the date the hearing ended. Since the duration of the provisional suspension will be counted after his hearing is over, this decision will be helpful for his comeback,” a team official said.
NADA has issued a clarification in connection to last month’s incident of some wrestlers dodging Australian anti-doping officials. The anti-doping body said it will be taking up the matter with the national federation and wouldn’t specifically scrutinize the role of the national coach. “In particular, neither Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency nor the World Anti-Doping Agency have suggested that NADA pursue potential violations against the coach. It is, however, a general rule if any athlete or coach tries to disrupt the anti-doping process, action is to be taken by NADA. We will pursue the matter with concerned federations so that necessary action is taken against concerned persons,” a NADA statement said.