India's top triple-jumper Aishwarya Babu has been banned by the National Anti-Doping Agency's (NADA) disciplinary panel for four years for using a prohibited anabolic steroid.
The 25-year-athlete was dropped from the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in 2022, along with sprinter S Dhanalakshmi after testing positive for the steroid, which is on the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) prohibited list.
Aishwarya has time till March 6 to file an appeal against the ban after receiving the ban notice from NADA's Appeal Panel on February 13. The athlete, who had tested positive for Ostarine -- a drug that falls in the category of selective androgen receptor modulator (SRAM) -- was tested during the National Inter-State Championships on June 13 and 14, last year in Chennai.
Aishwarya had won the triple jump gold in the championships with a national record-breaking lunge of 14.14 meters. Having been provisionally suspended in July last year, Aishwarya has already served six months of her four-year ban.
NADA said the substance Aishwarya used was an "anabolic steroid" listed under WADA's 2022 prohibited. It added that the athlete had not taken a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) for it.
Aishwarya had said in her submission that she "did not take any prohibited substance to enhance" her performance. The athlete added that she had suffered an injury in the past when her shoulder had dislocated while lifting weights in the gym in February 2021. She took treatment and recovered from this injury
. Aishwarya added that in the run-up to the National Inter-state Championships, she pushed herself too much, which led her to the "painful discomfort on the same place (shoulder)". Fearing her injury might resurface if she "continues her training with same vigor", she discussed this issue with her colleague, Jagdish, who is also an athlete.
Jagdish suggested that she takes the Ostarine tablet claiming that it is completely safe and would help her get rid of the pain and heal the muscle.
NADA's disciplinary panel questioned why Aishwarya did not approach a hospital or a registered medical practitioner for treatment, adding that the athlete "totally disregarded the rule and took Ostarine tablets on the advice of her colleague."
"Given the facts, circumstances, precedents, and rules, it is held that the athlete has violated Articles 2.1 & 2.2 of the NADA ADR (Anti-Doping Regulations), 2021. She is hereby sanctioned with an ineligibility of four years. The period of ineligibility shall commence from the date of provisional suspension i.e, 18.07.2022," the disciplinary panel said.
"It shall be noted that the athlete has failed to satisfy the panel that the ADRV (Anti-Doping Rule Violation) was non-intentional as per Article 10.2.1.1 of the NADA ADR, 2021. "The athlete is hereby disqualified of all of the individual results obtained in the said event with all consequences, including forfeiture of all medals, points, and prizes," it added.