Paralympic Committee of India was contemplating a life ban on the powerlifter Sachin Choudhary
Glasgow: Even as confusion prevailed over how para-athlete Sachin Choudhary came here as a part of the Indian Commonwealth Games contingent without dope clearance, the Paralympic Committee of India was contemplating a life ban on the powerlifter.
Choudhary checked in at the Athletes Village here as part of the Indian contingent but made a hasty return home on the pretext of deteriorating health of his ailing father. However, it is now confirmed that he failed a dope test conducted last month by the National Anti-Doping Agency and the PCI said it was mulling to even hand him a life ban.
"Sachin's dope sample taken by the NADA on June 23 was found to be positive for a banned substance and now he will give his B sample. We will take a decision after the result of B sample comes. We don't tolerate doping by our athletes," PCI Secretary J Chandrasekhar told PTI.
"Surely, we will punish him and we are even thinking of slapping a life ban on him," said Chandrasekhar, though it is not known whether an athlete can be handed a straight life ban on his first dope offence.
Chandrasekhar said that Choudhary's return to home was in a way good luck for India as his presence at the Athletes Village would have been a shame and disaster for the country as the Glasgow 2014 dope team took urine sample from all the para-athletes yesterday.
"In a way it was good luck that he returned home and we are heaving a sigh of relief. Because, I have been told by the team management in Glasgow that samples of all the para-athletes were taken by the dope testing team. "Suppose Sachin was there and he was caught, then that would have been a disaster and shame for India. The country's image is above everything," he said.
"Sachin said he was taking some injection for treatment of his elbow and that might have led to the banned substance going into his body. But I have enquired from some doctors and they said it may not be the case. In any case, we are taking strong action so that these things do not happen in future.
"Before leaving for Glasgow, all the para-athletes had signed an agreement in front of our president that discipline will be maintained during the Games and incidents like doping will not be tolerated. So we are thinking of handing out deterrent punishment," he said, adding that the banned substance was not a steroid.
Chandrasekhar was not so forthcoming about how Choudhary was sent to Glasgow without dope clearance by the NADA. "He had left for Glasgow on July 13 and till that time there was no report from the NADA about his dope test result. May be, in future we will not send anybody until and unless we get a clearance from the NADA," said Chandrasekhar.
NADA officials could not be reached when contacted but the Sports Authority of India Director General Jiji Thomson said that he would look into the matter.
"I have not got any communication from anybody that Sachin Choudhary has tested positive but definitely I will look into the matter and find out the facts. We are very strict about doping and will take action if he is found positive," he said.
Asked how an athlete can be cleared to proceed for such a big multi-sporting event, Thomson said, "SAI's job is to recommend athletes to the government and we don't interfere in the functioning of the NADA. "NADA is a totally independent body and I would not comment on the issue of whether NADA had cleared an athlete or not," said Thomson.