Asian Games gold medallist Priyanka Panwar has been banned by the National Anti-Doping Agency(NADA) for a period of eight years after she tested positive for a banned performance enhancing drug for the second time.
The latest test results by NADA also show that use of banned drugs continues unchecked in the country as nearly 40 sportspersons have failed dope tests this year.
The verdict of the NADA panel is based on the result of a test conducted on the athlete last year.
“Priyanka’s samples had tested positive for mephentermine (a stimulant). The disciplinary panel heard her case and banned her for a period of eight years,” NADA sources told TOI.
As per the NADA code, athletes caught for a second anti-doping rule violation get a sanction ranging from eight-year to life-time ban.
Priyanka – who won the women’s 4x400m relay gold at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon along with Tintu Luka, Mandeep Kaur and MR Poovamma, clocking a new meet record of 3:28.68s – had tested positive for anabolic steroids along with Ashwini Akkunji in tests conducted by NADA in Patiala six years ago.
The two athletes were set to fly out for the Asian Athletics meet when Athletics Federation of India (AFI) slapped a provisional suspension on them.
Priyanka, 29, returned to action after serving a two-year ban and promptly made the Indian relay squad for Incheon. AFI also picked her for the 2015 World Championships despite her disappointing show on the domestic circuit.
According to sources, another seasoned campaigner, discus thrower Arjun, has also failed a dope test. “His ‘A’ sample has tested positive for testosterone. The hearing is on in Arjun’s case before the panel serves the verdict,” they said.
The high number of positive dope cases – around 40 – by NADA so far this year, shows that cheats are thriving in Indian sports. “So far, approximately 40 sports-persons have been caught by NADA. Most of these players are from athletics, weightlifting, power-lifting and boxing,” sources added.