No Arjuna Award for dope-tainted Renjith Maheshwary

The Sports Ministry on Thursday decided not to confer Renjith Maheshwary with the prestigious Arjuna award as the triple jumper has been found to have used a 'scheduled' substance (ephedrine) back in 2008, putting an end to all speculations regarding his fate.

After detailed investigations, the Ministry has come to a conclusion that Maheshwary was found to have used ephedrine during the 46th National Athletic Championships in Kochi.

Maheshwary was earlier selected for the Arjuna Award by the ministry but was later put on standby after media reports claimed that the athlete had failed a dope test in 2008.

Renjith Maheshwary
Renjith Maheshwary. File Pic/AFP 

"The ministry with considerable regret, announces that the Arjuna Award for 2013 will not be conferred on Shri Renjith Maheshwary," the ministry said in a statement.

"After detailed investigations, the ministry has determined that Maheshwary was found to have used a scheduled" substance (ephedrine) during the 46th National Athletic Championships at Kochi in 2008," said the sports ministry statement. 

The sample was collected on September 8, 2008 and given to the National Dope Testing Laboratory on September 15, 2008. NDTL on October 3, 2008 analysed the A-sample of Maheswary and reported levels of ephedrine far above the expected levels, even when ephedrine is consumed for therapeutic purposes.

Maheshwary had not reported using ephedrine for medicinal purposes during the collection of the sample and was suspended by the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) pending enquiry. 

The case was heard by the enquiry committee of the AFI and Maheshwary was given an opportunity to present his case as well. The triple jumper, however, did not request for an analysis of his B-sample.

On 10th January 2009, Maheshwary was awarded a punishment of a ban for three months starting from 13.10.2008. This was communicated to him by the Director of the AFI.

There was some doubt regarding the acceptability of the sample from Maheshwary. It was also possible that the report of the National Dope Testing Laboratory might not have been an acceptable 'Adverse Analytical Finding', and that the chain of custody of the sample might not have been sufficiently foolproof.

However, the Ministry noted that Maheshwary had never protested against the findings of the enquiry committee or the punishment awarded by the competent authority.

His acceptance of the punishment, despite the flaws in collection and analysis of the sample, had made the punishment final. 

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