April 16, 2015 6:10:54 pm
Commonwealth Games gold medallist weightlifter Geeta Rani’s confirmatory ‘B’ sample test has also returned positive for a banned substance and she is set to end her career in ignominy as she faces the prospect of a lengthy ban from the sport.
Rani, who won a gold in 2006 CWG and three silver in the 2004 Asian Championships, had tested positive for a banned substance in her ‘A’ sample collected during the National Games (January 31-February 14) in Kerala, where she won a gold in women’s 75-plus kg category.
She has already been provisionally suspended after her ‘A’ sample result and she will now have to face a NADA panel hearing. The NADA panel will decide her case and the quantum of sanction, if any, to be imposed on her. Under the new NADA/WADA Rules, a first time dope offender faces a maximum four-year ban.
In addition to the National Games dope violation, 33-year-old Rani’s sample taken during the All India Police Meet last month has also returned positive for a banned substance.
“Geeta Rani’s ‘B’ sample has also returned positive for the same banned substance as in the ‘A’ sample. Now the NADA panels will decide her case and the quantum of sanction if at all to be handed on her,” Indian Weightlifting Federation Vice-President Sahdev Yadav told PTI on Thursday.
“What aggravates Geeta’s case is that her ‘A’ sample taken during the All India Police Meet has also returned positive for a banned substance. Now, the NADA panels will decide whether the dope violation (during Police Meet) will be counted as her second dope offence or not,” he added.
If Rani returns positive in the ‘B’ sample taken during the All India Police Meet and the NADA panel rules it as second dope violation, she may be banned for upto eight years,
virtually ending her weightlifting career.
The federation has recently decided to ban coaches and suspend state units of dope offenders for stipulated years but Yadav said that in Rani’s case, it has been difficult to find out who is her mentor since she is not currently in the national camp.
“Geeta is not in the national camp and so it’s difficult to find out who is her coach since she trains on her own. We are not sure who was her coach during the National Games,” he said.
Three other weightlifters had failed dope tests during the National Games and 17 other had also returned positive recently in one of the biggest doping scandals in the sport but Yadav said that the ‘B’ sample results were awaited.
“We have made stringent rules against dope offenders, their coaches and state units. All the 21 are provisionally suspended after positive results in their ‘A’ sample but we are waiting the results of ‘B’ sample tests. We have also suspended Delhi, Punjab and Haryana state units for one year as most of them are from these three states,” Yadav said.
The IWF rules state that in case of two or more doping violations in a 12-month period in tests conducted by the IWF or NADA, a state unit could be suspended from participating in any activities of the IWF for a period of up to two years.
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