Which athletes could win National Sports Awards after eligibility rule change?
Here, we take a look at the dope-tainted athletes who would now be eligible to receive national sports awards following the rule change.
The Indian Sports Ministry, in the last week, announced that the dope-tainted athletes and coaches from the country would now be eligible for various National Sports Awards.
The athletes who have served their ban or suspension for doping would make them eligible to be honoured with the National Sports Awards following the end of their ban. However, the achievements of the athletes during the ban or suspension period will not be considered while handing out the awards.
Here, we take a look at the dope-tainted athletes who would now be eligible to receive any national sports award following the rule change.
One of the most recognizable name in this list would undoubtedly be of the country's star boxer Amit Panghal. The Haryana lad was caught doping in the year 2012, just after he had a bout with chickenpox. Panghal has since maintained that the dope violation was due to inadvertent intake of medicine, but has not been recognised with any national award. He was nominated for the Arjuna Award twice and for the Khel Ratna last year, but was not honoured with it due to the doping violation in his youth years.
The 2010 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, Renjith Maheshwary, was caught for doping in the year 2008. The Kerala lad was tested positive for Ephedrine – a drug used to treat the symptoms of low blood pressure. Renjith has maintained that the dope violation was not deliberate but the triple-jumper was denied Arjuna Award in 2013 for the same.
A weightlifter from the state of Manipur, Sanjita Chanu was caught for a doping violation in the year 2017. The now 27-year-old tested positive for a banned anabolic steroid during an out of competition testing and was handed a ban. Sanjita, however, was cleared of all the doping charges by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) in 2020. Having won two Commonwealth Games gold medals for India, she would surely be one of the favourites to be honoured with the national sports award after the change in rule.
A discus thrower the state of Haryana, Seema Punia, was caught for dope violation not once but twice in her career. The 38-year-old won the gold medal at the Junior World Championships in the year 2000, but was stripped of the medal for doping. She was caught for the second time in the year 2006, just before the Asian Games, during an out of competition test. Seema Punia has since gone on to win multiple Asian and Commonwealth Games medals but has not been honoured with any national sports award yet.
Bahadur Singh Sagoo
The 2002 Asian Games gold medallist in shot put, Bahadur Singh Sagoo was caught in the doping net during 2003. Though the now 48-year-old has also represented India at the 2000 and 2004 Asian Games, he has never been conferred with any national sports award. On contrary, he was honoured with the Padma Shri by the Indian government in the year 2006.