Fighting a dope taint, weightlifter Sanjita Chanu’s troubles mounted Thursday with her ‘B’ sample also returning positive but the defiant Commonwealth Games gold-medallist will fight her case before the international body’s hearing panel. Chanu has decided to present her case before the hearing panel of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) in Hungary. If Sanjita fails to prove her innocence before the IWF hearing panel, she faces a maximum punishment of four years, as stipulated for a first-time offender.
“The B sample test was sent to Sanjita on September 11 and we will present our case before the IWF hearing panel in Budapest. We will highlight the mistakes committed by the IWF in this case,” Sanjita’s brother Bijen Singh told PTI. “It (the international body) has admitted its mistakes. We are confident of winning the case,” he added.
Should her fight fail in the IWF, Sanjita is likely to knock at the doors of the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Switzerland. “We will fight for justice till the end. We will do whatever is available to us. She has been wronged,” he added.
In the letter which informed her about the ‘B’ sample result, the IWF had given time till September 18 to tell the world body whether she wishes to appear before a hearing panel. She was given the option to be present in person at a regular IWF hearing session, or at an extraordinary hearing, or through phone conference or skype.
In reply, Sanjita wrote, “I would like to appear before the hearing panel through my representative (or myself) to prove my innocence.” Sanjita is now mulling whether to appear in person or send a lawyer.
“Considering the cost involved for two persons (Sanjita and a lawyer) going to Hungary, we may send just a lawyer to represent her in the hearing in Budapest. But it is not yet finalised. We will take a call on it in the next few days,” Bijen said.
The IWF, earlier in the year, admitted to committing an “administrative mistake” in giving the exact sample number of Sanjita in its report of her failed dope test. It had mentioned two different sample numbers in its communication of her dope flunk on May 15 and Sanjita had demanded an inquiry.
The National Anti-Doping Agency said that the IWF’s admission will not have any impact on the actual doping issue. 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.
Sanjita’s ‘A’ sample, taken out-of-competition in the United States on November 18 before the World Championships last year, tested positive for an anabolic steroid. The dope result (of A sample), however, came only on May 15 when she was put under provisional suspension.
The ‘B’ sample request was made in June and the result was given to her on September 11.
Sanjita has also requested the IWF to reveal the name of the weightlifter whose sample number is 1599176 and which was mentioned in one place in the letter sent to her informing her about her dope flunk. The number had (though mistakenly) appeared in my suspension order, I assume it is my right to know him/her. This will help me in convincing how the mistake occurred,” she said in the letter written to the IWF.