Dutee Chand to challenge four-year NADA ban

The samples were taken on December 5 and 26 respectively

ASIAD-2018-ATHLETICS Dutee Chand | PTI

Double Asian Games silver medallist Dutee Chand will challenge the four-year ban imposed on the celebrated Indian athlete by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) for failing two out-of-competition dope tests for a banned substance.

The 27-year-old 100m national record holder was on Thursday served the ban after two samples taken in December last year were found to contain "other anabolic agents/SARMS", which is listed under "WADA's 2023 prohibited list of non-specified substances".

The samples were taken on December 5 and 26 respectively and both returned positive for almost identical substances.

SARMS, or selective androgen receptor modulators, are non-steroidal substances commonly used to treat osteoporosis, anaemia and wound healing in patients.

Dutee's ban will be effective from January 3 this year and all her competitive results will be scrapped from the date the first sample collection took place (December 5, 2022).

Dutee's counsel Parth Goswami told PTI on Friday that the sprinter had been a "clean athlete" all her professional career and it was a case of "unintentional consumption". The athlete had won silver medals in 100 and 200m at the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games and holds the national record of 11.17 sec in 100m (2021).

"For us, this is a clear case of unintentional consumption of a banned substance. We were clearly able to establish the source of the substance in the body, which is a substantial proof of lack of intent. The substance was never used to gain any sporting advantage," said Goswami.

"We are in process of filing an appeal. We are hopeful that we will be able to convince the appeal panel," he added.

"Dutee is the pride of India and is a clean athlete. She has had an illustrious career of over a decade. She has undergone hundreds of dope tests internationally and nationally and has always been clean in her long career," added Goswami.

Dutee and her counsel had also claimed before NADA's Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel (ADDP) that it was a case of "unintentional consumption".

"The athlete and her counsel had without refuting the findings of the NDTL (National Dope Testing Laboratory) report stated that the consumption of the said substance was unintentional and the ingestion of the same had been advised by the physiotherapist who was being regularly consulted by the athlete," said the ADDP order.

"The athlete and her counsels submitted that the said physiotherapist had been attached with the athlete from the Pullela Gopichand Academy where the athlete was training under special permission."

Dutee's counsel had submitted that the sprinter was "hyperandrogenic" owing to which she was having "severe groin pain" because of which the treatment was recommended.

ADDP said that the athlete had "delegated the task of purchasing the drugs to her friend", who was also a witness in the case.

"(The witness) before giving his deposition had submitted an affidavit where he stated that he himself went to the shop to buy the said supplement for hormonal disbalance but, on the contrary, during his cross-examination (the witness) denied buying the said supplement in person but rather re-delegating to his manager," ADDP noted.

"The admitted fact on the affidavit placed before the ADDP and the cross-examination of the witness highlights there are glaring contradictions in the fact put forth before the panel by the witnesses, thereby raising legitimate concerns regarding the reliability of the statements made by the witness," said ADDP order.

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