Prithvi Shaw, Yusuf Pathan, Narsingh Yadav: Sports stars caught in the dope net
With young cricketer Prithvi Shaw joining the list of dope-related offenders, mid-day looks at some similar big cases
Aparna Popat (Badminton)
Arjuna Award winner, two-time Olympian and nine-time National champ Aparna Popat, was banned for three months in 2000. One of the biggest names in Indian badminton in the pre-Saina Nehwal era, Popat was on a high, ranked 28 in the world, when she tested positive for a banned substance. The International Badminton Federation (IBF) disciplinary committee at a hearing in Birmingham (UK) found Popat guilty of using D'Cold Total, a medicine taken for cold and flu, during the Thomas and Uber Cup matches in New Delhi. As a result, she had to forfeit the world ranking points she acquired during her Uber Cup matches.
Seema Punia (Discus throw)
Discus thrower Seema Punia earned the nickname 'millennium child' after winning gold in the World Junior Athletic Championships in 2000 in Santiago, Chile as a 17-year-old. But her happiness was shortlived as she tested positive for pseudoephedrine which resulted in her getting stripped of her medal. She received an official warning from the Amateur Athletic Federation of India (AAFI). Punia had again tested positive, this time stanozolol, ahead of the 2006 Asian Games, but was cleared by Athletic Federation of India (AFI). In 2014, she won a silver medal at CWG and a gold at the Asian Games. Last year, she won a bronze at the Asian Games.
Narsingh Yadav (Wrestling)
Mumbai-based wrestler Narsingh Yadav's career went haywire after he tested positive for banned drug, methandienone three weeks before the 2016 Rio Olympics. National Anti-Doping Agency's (NADA) appeal panel accepted Narsingh's defence and let him travel to Brazil, but 12 hours before his event in Rio, the Court of Arbitration for Sports banned him for four years after an appeal by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The 74kg wrestler then alleged sabotage — without naming anyone in particular — saying his food at the national camp in Sonepat had been spiked. Later, a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry dismissed the theory.
Inderjeet Singh (Shot put)
Shot-putter Inderjeet Singh too failed a National Anti-Doping Agency-conducted dope test on June 22, 2016 before the Rio Games. The then reigning Asian champion said his samples had been tampered with. Inderjeet's 'A' sample had tested positive for anabolic steroids, androsterone and etiocholanolone and was handed a four-year ban. In December 2018, nearly two years after he failed a dope test just days before Rio Olympics, his four-year ban was revoked by the National Anti-Doping Agency's disciplinary panel.
Thingbaijam Sanamacha Chanu (Weightlifting)
Thingbaijam Sanamacha Chanu, who competed in the women's 53kg category at the 2004 Athens Olympics, finished fourth, but tested positive for a banned substance and was disqualified. Chanu, who won three golds at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, tested positive for methylhexanamine; a stimulant commonly used in nasal decongestant, during the 2010 Commonwealth Games at New Delhi and was banned for eight years for her second doping offence.
Yusuf Pathan (Cricket)
In 2017, India all-rounder Yusuf Pathan was suspended by the BCCI for five months on the grounds of a doping violation. Interestingly, like Prithvi, even Yusuf's urine sample (taken during a domestic T-20 competition for BCCI's anti-doping testing program) contained terbutaline, a substance that is prohibited both in and out of competition, according to the WADA list of prohibited substances.
Monika Devi (Weightlifting)
Manipuri weightlifter Monika Devi was caught in the dope net when she least expected it — hours before boarding the flight for the Beijing Olympics. Her name was withdrawn from the Indian squad for failing a dope test. She tested positive for anabolic salt and was slapped with a two-year ban.
Monika (69kg) was the sole lifter from India to have been selected for the Beijing Games. After being cleared of doping charges, Monika competed in the women's 69kg category at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and won a bronze medal.
Ashwini Akkunji (Athletics)
Sprinter Ashwini Akkunji's 2012 London Olympics dreams in 2011 were crushed after her 'B' sample tested positive for anabolic steroids after winning medals at the 2010 Asian and Commonwealth Games. Ashwini's 'B' samples tested at the National Dope Testing Laboratory in Delhi confirmed the presence of methandionone. Ashwini was caught for doping just hours before she was to leave the country for the Asian Athletics Championships in Japan that year. She received a two-year ban.
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