The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) has admitted to committing a mistake in giving the exact sample number of Sanjita Chanu in its report of her failed dope test, a development which has prompted the Commonwealth Games gold-medallist to demand an inquiry.
The IWF has admitted to mentioning two different urine sample numbers in its communication of her dope flunk earlier this year, according to a letter that the world body sent to the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA). The communication conceding the “administrative mistake” is in possession of PTI.
Sanjita has now written to the IWF, seeking a probe into how such a mistake could have taken place. While sending the dope result notification to Sanjita on May 15, the IWF mentioned sample code number 1599000 as the one collected on November 17 last year at Las Vegas while it mentioned sample code 1599176 in the results section.
The admission from the IWF came after the issue reached the Prime Minister’s Office. The PMO had written to the Sports Ministry to look into the matter, which, in turn, directed the NADA to do so.
The IWF’s admission, however, is unlikely to have any impact on the actual doping issue and interestingly, the NADA, in its reply to the Sports Ministry, has said that Sanjita “will need to explain before the International Weightlifting Federation hearing panel regarding the Anti-Doping Rule violation”.
Sanjita’s urine ‘A’ sample, taken out-of-competition in the United States before the World Championships in November, tested positive for an anabolic steroid and she was immediately put under provisional suspension.
In its reply to the Sports Ministry on the doping saga, the NADA said, “Sample bearing Code No. 1599000 was collected on Nov. 18, 2017 during out of competition at Las Vegas, Nevada, USA by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
“The lab results were reported on December 20 and the sample has been reported for Adverse Analytical Finding.”
The USADA forwarded a communication of this dope result addressed to Sanjita (in her email) with a copy to the IWF and the WADA. On May 15, the IWF sent a notification of Adverse Analytical Finding for sample code number 1599000 to Sanjita and the Indian federation.
“In the notification sent to the weightlifter by International Weightlifting Federation, there is a mention of sample code 1599176 at one place stating: ‘As indicated in USADA’s notification of Jan 9, 2018, IWF will be responsible for the Results Management related to the potential Anti-Doping Rule violations arising from the results returned by sample 1599176,” the NADA said in the letter to the Sports Ministry, a copy of which is with PTI.
“In response to a NADA email, the IWF has clarified that sample code number 1599176 in the notification is due to an administrative mistake,” the NADA said.
Sanjita, who has been claiming innocence from the beginning, has now written a letter to the international federation to institute an inquiry.
“In one of your replies, you said ‘the second reference to another sample code in the notification letter is due to an administrative mistake. Would you please elaborate on this administrative mistake?” she asked.
“How come such a highly responsible federation makes such a grievous mistake on such a highly important document? I wish an inquiry be instituted to understand the reason behind this ‘unmistakable’ mistake,” added Sanjita, who earlier demanded that a DNA test be conducted to find out whether the urine sample was hers or not.