Top Indian sprinter Sekar Dhanalakshmi has been handed a three-year ban by the Athletics Integrity Unit of the world governing body for failing an out-of-competition dope test in May.
Dhanalakshmi's sample taken on May 2 in Antalya, Turkey where she had a training stint along with other Indian athletes, was found to contain metandienone, an anabolic androgenic steroid and a non-specified substance prohibited at all times under the WADA Code.
The test was done at the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accredited laboratory in Lausanne, Switzerland. The period of ineligibility was to be four years for such cases. But Dhanalakshmi admitted to the doping offence and accepted the sanction, which led to a one-year reduction in her ban period.
The 24-year-old Tamil Nadu athlete will now serve a three-year ban from July 11, the date of the provisional suspension. Rule 10.8.1 of World Athletics Anti-Doping Rules provides that an athlete potentially subject to an asserted period of Ineligibility of four years may benefit from a one-year reduction in the period of ineligibility based on early admission and acceptance of sanction.
"On 19 July 2022, the Athlete returned the Admission of Anti-Doping Rule Violation and Acceptance of Consequences Form signed. The Athlete shall therefore receive a one-year reduction in the asserted period of ineligibility pursuant to Rule 10.8.1 based on early admission and acceptance of sanction," the AIU said in its decision uploaded on its website.
"On the basis that the Athlete has admitted the Anti-Doping Rule Violations, the AIU confirms by this decision the following consequences for a first Anti-Doping Rule Violation: a period of Ineligibility of three years commencing on 11 July 2022 (the date of Provisional Suspension) and disqualification of the Athlete's results on and since 1 May 2022.” The AIU ban could result in consequences like the forfeiture of any titles, awards, medals, points prizes and appearance money.
WADA and the National Anti-Doping Agency of India (NADA) have a right to appeal against this decision of AIU to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne. Dhanalakshmi had run her personal best time of 22.89s to win 200m gold at the Qosanov Memorial Athletics Meet in June which got her a spot in the recent World Championships through the world rankings route. She could not take part in the showpiece after her doping offence.
She had won a 200m gold in the National Inter-Sate Championships in Chennai in June with a time of 23.27.