Shot-putter Inderjeet Singh has become the second Rio-bound athlete, after wrestler Narsingh Yadav, to fail a dope test. The National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) found traces of banned performance-enhancing anabolic steroids, androsterone and etiocholanolone, in the athlete’s urine sample following an out of competition test done last month.
Inderjeet, who was informed by NADA about the positive test late on Monday, alleged that his urine sample was tampered with. “It’s a conspiracy. Why would a player take something which is not good for his health,” said the thrower, whose chances of making it to the Olympics now seem bleak. India’s contingent leaves for Rio Wednesday.
Along with Inderjeet, two national-ranked throwers, who are not part of India’s Rio squad, have also tested positive for anabolic steroids. It is learnt that a woman shot putter and a male hammer thrower — both medallists at the 56th National Inter State Senior Athletics Championships held in June — will also be facing sanctions for using banned substances.
Speaking about the Rio-bound athlete, NADA’s director general Navin Agarwal said. “The athlete whose ‘A’ sample has tested positive for androsterone and etiocholanolone has been intimated of the same and so has been the Athletics Federation of India. An out of competition test was conducted on the athlete in May and the athlete was clean. In June, there was a whereabouts failure. Thereafter, in the same month (June), another out of competition test was conducted and the ‘A’ sample was positive,” Agarwal said.
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Inderjeet, Agarwal said, was guilty of a whereabouts violation on June 15. According to World Anti-Doping Agency norms, elite athletes need to keep the drug testers in loop about their whereabouts all the time. When NADA officials arrived at his training centre in Bhiwani, the athlete wasn’t there. The samples were eventually collected from the shot-putter on June 22, the results of which tested positive.
Since returning from a training stint at the Aphelion Athletics Club, Pennsylvania, Inderjeet has been tested on six occasions— of which three results have been negative, while the results of two are still awaited, it is learnt. Inderjeet has one week to exercise the option of having his ‘B’ sample tested in his presence. If his ‘B’ sample also tests positive, he will have to appear before NADA’s independent hearing panel. The maximum sanction for a first-time offender, according to the World Anti-Doping Agency Code, is four years.
Inderjeet is not the only Rio-bound sportsperson who has been issued a showcause notice for whereabouts failure. It is learnt that two senior hockey players and another thrower have also been issued notices by NADA for the same reason.
According to the Athletics Federation of India’s medical committee chairman Arun Mendiratta, androsterone and etiocholanolone are anabolic steroids but can be termed as ‘low-potency’ as they are typically found in food supplements. However, androsterone can also be purchased as a supplement separately.
Dr PSM Chandran, former head of sports medicine at the Sports Authority of India, said the substances found in Inderjeet’s sample were used to build muscle and produce power.
“They are typically used by athletes who are into power sports, like weightlifting and throwing. It is usually taken as part of a programme and an athlete will use it for a while and then get off it and then use it again with the intention of benefit during a competition. A systematic doping chart needs to be followed if the athlete is able to wash out the effects of the drugs before competition and also gain performance-enhancing benefits,” Dr Chandran said.