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Satish disqualified, faces life ban

Special Correspondent

— File Photo

Satish Rai.

NEW DELHI: Weightlifter Satish Rai, who tested positive for a steroid at the National Games in Guwahati last February, has been found guilty of an anti-doping rule violation following the confirmation of his test result through ‘B’ sample analysis at the WADA-accredited laboratory in Bangkok.

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) hearing panel, headed by Dr. Manmohan Singh, has ruled against Rai following the confirmatory test, which in any case was a formality, given the rarity of a ‘B’ sample for a steroid turning up negative.

Accordingly, the panel has recommended his disqualification from the competition in the games. Eight others were found ‘guilty’ last month.

Rai, who won the men’s 85kg title in Guwahati, with a record lift, wanted to be present at the ‘B’ sample testing. But despite seeking changes in dates initially, thus delaying the process of ‘results management’, he eventually did not attend the testing done in Bangkok in the last week of June.

Second offence

Having tested positive for a stimulant at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, this is Rai’s second offence.

He thus faces a life ban if the Indian Weightlifting Federation also finds him guilty and imposes the most stringent sanction.

Rai can plead “no fault or negligence” or “no significant fault or negligence” on his part for the violation and seek a reduced sanction from the federation. However, even if he succeeds in getting a favourable verdict, his ban could extend to eight years.

For, the relevant rule says: “If the otherwise applicable period of ineligibility is a lifetime, the reduced period under this section may be no less than eight years.”

Had the stimulant Rai was found ‘positive’ for at Manchester (strychnine) been a “specified substance” under the current prohibited list, he would have been banned for a maximum of three years only.

Not specified substance

Strychnine, however, is not a “specified substance”. (Exception to the two-year suspension is provided for under the WADA rules if an athlete can prove that the use of a drug was unintentional and there was no attempt to enhance performance. The drug will, however, need to be classified under ‘specified substances’.)

The IOA had stated on June 15 that it was forwarding the “positive” cases for further sanctions by the federations, but enquiries revealed that federations were yet to get any communication in this regard. The IOA was in the process of sending letters on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, three of the woman lifters suspended in 2004 for doping offences are awaiting their re-instatement at the international level following the completion of their suspensions.

According to the Indian federation Secretary, Balbir Singh Bhatia, Sanamacha Chanu had completed the re-instatement testing.

Meanwhile, Pratima Kumari and Sunaina Anand were yet to complete the testing at an accredited laboratory.

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