In another embarrassing turn of events for Indian athletics, three athletes tested positive for banned substances and have been sanctioned. This was revealed in the June list under the latest sanctions for doping and non-doping violations released by the sport’s global watchdog Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU).
According to the AIU website, a consolidated list of all persons serving a period of ineligibility in athletics is published on the website and this “includes persons serving a period of ineligibility as a result of national-level cases and decisions”. Indications are that the tests — one in-competition and two out of competition — could have been conducted by the National Anti-Doping Agency. However, there is no mention of these offences on the NADA website.
What seems more shocking is the cocktail of drugs used by these young athletes. Adesh Yadav, who represented Maharashtra and won a gold in 5000m at the U23 junior national athletics meet in New Delhi, tested positive for Erythropoietin (EPO) and Darbepoetin (dEPO). His sample, according to AIU, was collected on the day (27.09.2021) he won gold in 5000m.
According to Ashok Ahuja, former head of the department of sports science in NIS Patiala, this is not very shocking. “EPO and dEPO are commonly used drugs, especially by endurance athletes and the drugs are easily available as injection,” said Ahuja, who is also an expert in the field. The drugs help to boost red blood cells that will help in carrying oxygen to the muscles.
What seem even more interesting are the profiles of the other two athletes. They are not too famous and both tested positive for a cocktail of drugs during out-of-competition tests.
According to the AIU, Shrikant Malik, a quarter-miler tested positive for a cocktail of drugs — metandienone, trenbolone, norandrosterone and 19-noretiocholanolone. He has been suspended for four years since August last year. His name is listed in 400m nationals in both junior and senior categories.
And Anish Khan, a hammer thrower, tested positive for Ostarine (enobosarm), stanozolol and metandienone. He has been banned for four years since November last year. Anish’s name appears in the hammer throw at junior nationals in 2017.
Ahuja said such a cocktail of drugs, of late, is being used by athletes. “Such steroids were used by weightlifters and bodybuilders earlier and now it seems common among athletes,” said Ahuja.