Shipra Sarkar charged with another anti-doping rule violation

Middle-distance runner Shipra Sarkar has been charged with an apparent second anti-doping rule violation from the date she was presumed to have ended her first suspension, 28 June 2024.

The action by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) follows Sarkar’s participation in two inter-Railway championships in successive years, 2022 and 2023 while she was supposed to be serving a four-year suspension from 2020.

The 28-year-old Easten Railway athlete from Bengal had tested positive for androgens in an out-of-competition test conducted at Kolkata on 6 February 2020. Following hearings by the anti-doping disciplinary panel (ADDP) and, on appeal, by the anti-doping appeal panel (ADAP), she was suspended for a four-year period from 29 June 2020. The ADAP decision came on 3 February 2022.

But Sarkar went on to take part in the 1500m, finishing second in 2022, and the 800m (third) and 1500m (fifth) in the 2023 Inter-Railway championships.

NADA has now asked her to explain how she competed during her ineligibility period while she was banned from participation in any competition during her suspension.

NADA has also informed her that the consequences of competing during ineligibility could be a “new period of ineligibility equal in length to the original period of ineligibility shall be added to the end of the original period of ineligibility”.

How this happened is unknown since her suspension was listed, like other suspensions, on the NADA website and notices are normally sent to the relevant members through the federation in due course.

The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) has sought explanations from the athlete and the Eastern Railways sports body.

If Sarkar is aggregable to face the consequences proposed by NADA, there would be no further proceedings in the case. Should she refuse to accept, the matter may once again go to the ADDP. She might then be able to explain how she came to compete in two years while under suspension.

In the meantime, it turns out that javelin thrower D. P. Manu, who was tested during the Indian Grand Prix meet at Bengaluru on 30 April this year, had tested positive for steroid methyltestosterone. Manu won the title at the meet with a throw of 81.91m.

Manu, who was sixth at last year’s World Championships at Budapest and had originally qualified through world rankings for the Paris Olympics, is currently under provisional suspension. He had tried to get a stay on the provisional suspension through an appeal which was rejected. Manu faces a possible sanction of four years if the charge is proved.

In what was swift processing by the Delhi laboratory and NADA following the Inter-State championships at Panchkula, quarter-miler Deepanshi has been charged with a violation for the metabolites of drostanolone, an injectable steroid.

The Haryana girl who clocked 52.01s to finish second behind her team-mate Kiran Pahal (50.92s) in the Panchkula meet, has been placed under provisional suspension. She faces a four-year suspension if she is unsuccessful before a panel. She was tested on the first day of the championships on June 27.

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