Former Indian men’s team hockey goalkeeper Akash Anil Chikte will be able to return to action as the anti-doping appeal panel has reduced his two year ban, after he tested positive for an anabolic steroid, to 13 months. Chikte’s 13-month ban period was backdated from the date on which he was provisionally suspended — March 27, 2018, which means there are no restrictions on him playing.
Chikte’s out of competition urine sample was collected by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) in February last year and he tested positive for nandrolone, an anabolic steroid which is banned under World Anti-Doping Agency rules.
Chikte had argued before the disciplinary panel that he could not get a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) after he was prescribed medication for a sports injury as his father was suffering from brain clots and had to be operated upon in February last year. Chikte, 26, said that he was preoccupied with the medical procedure his father had to undergo.
Chikte had stated before the disciplinary panel that he had suffered an injury to his left index finger and left foot during practice when he was part of the national camp in Bangalore. When he returned to Pune, where he serves as a naib subedar in the Indian army, he was taken to a hospital and where he was given medicines as per the prescription. He also produced purchase invoices for the medicines before the disciplinary panel.
The disciplinary panel had concluded that the hockey goalkeeper had not committed an anti-doping violation intentionally but imposed a ban of two years. .
However, the appeal panel, which reduced the ban from two years to 13 months, headed by chairperson Vibha Datta Makhija stated: “We are in agreement with the findings of the disciplinary panel that the sportsperson has been able to establish that he did not commit the anti-doping violation intentionally. We are therefore of the opinion that the ineligibility of 2 years imposed on the appellant is erroneous and must be substituted by the benefit available to the appellant under the NADA Anti-Doping Rules, 2015.”
Chitke’s lawyer Hemant Phalpher argued that as it was established before the disciplinary panel that the consumption of the prohibited substance was unintentional, therefore the period of ineligibility had to be calculated on the athletes’s degree of fault under article 10.5.2 of the NADA code. The article states that if an athlete is able to establish he or she bears no significance or negligence, the period of ineligibility maybe reduced.