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5 cases of athlete suspension in the last decade

5 cases of athlete suspension in the last decade

Press Releases

Published: 13 Jan 2019 3:34 PM GMT
Controversies in sports are nothing new but with the recent scandal that has implicated two cricketers, the major voice in reaction to BCCI's decision is whether or not this is yet another instance of moral policing by the Board. However, the conversation does force us to think back on the time athletes were suspended throughout the sordid history of Indian sports- some of them even putting an end to the respective careers of the athletes in question. Perhaps the most high-profile and controversy-ridden one in recent times before the Pandya-Rahul fiasco is one involving Commonwealth Games gold medalist Sanjitha Chanu. Here is a list of five instances where sportspersons were either banned or suspended in the last decade.

7 Athletes banned by NADA in 2011

Ashwini Akkunji In 2011, the National Anti Doping Agency banned seven athletes for failing dope tests. The details included banning a male long jumper for two years and six women athletes for one year each. Long-jumper Harikrishnan Muralidharan, three of the women were in the 2010 Commonwealth and Asian Games 4x400m relay team which won gold (Mandeep Kaur, Sini Jose, Ashwini Akkunji) and Jauna Murmu, Priyanka Panwar and Tiana Mary Thomas were the athletes. It was suspected that intake of food supplements might have caused the positive results. In the aftermath of the tests, India's then track and field coach Ukrainian Yuri Ogorodnik was sacked with immediate effect. The athletes implicated effectively lost their chance at an Olympic qualification the year after.

Soumyajit Ghosh's nine-month provisional suspension in 2018

Soumyajit Ghosh Right ahead of the Commonwealth Games in 2018, ace Indian paddler Soumyajit Ghosh was caught up in a sexual harassment case wherein a girl, reportedly an ex-flame of the said player- alleged assault and harassment against him. This was at the time perceived as a threat to India's chances at the Gold Coast games. While Ghosh maintained a stance of innocence throughout. In August 2018, he married the teenager who had accused him of rape. This led to the Table Tennis Federation of India revoking the provisional suspension making him eligible to play in further tournaments. At the time of his suspension, Soumyajit Ghosh was on an all-time high with an ITTF World Ranking of 58.
Also read:
Soumyajit Ghosh: A premature end to a promising career

Serial offender Priyanka Pawar's eight-year ban in 2016

Priyanka Pawar At the 2014 Incheon Asian Games, Indian quarter-miler Priyanka Pawar won a Gold. In July 2016, she was handed an eight-year ban by the National Anti Doping Agency which effectively meant that her career was rudely put to a holt before it could reach its natural completion. The ban was given in accordance with her testing positive for a banned performance-enhancing drug- mephentermine (a stimulant). The reason she got her eight-year sentence was that this was her second offence. As per the NADA Code, eight years is the maximum suspension for a second-time offender. In 2011, along with five other athletes, Pawar had tested positive for anabolic steroids resulting in a two-year suspension for those implicated. A serial offender, she had also tested positive for a banned stimulant during a national inter-state athletics competition. Priyanka Pawar was a part of the Gold medal winning 4x400 team.

Jithin Paul suspended for drug possession in 2018

Jithin Paul In a first of its kind instance, the NADA disciplinary panel handed a four-year suspension to quarter-miler Jithin Paul for the “possession” of a banned substance. It was not proved whether or not he actually consumed the drugs. The report released by the country's administrative agency on doping “has been found in possession of” meldonium, a non-specified substance, in his room at NIS, Patiala in April in 2017. He was put under provisional suspension from the month of May that year. The NADA report specifically mentioned that “the athlete had no reasonable justification for the possession of the prohibited substance in his room.” However, in August 2018, NADA overturned this decision thus exonerating him from all offences. Paul is a 400m hurdle former National Open champion and a South Asian Games silver medallist in 2016.

Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul's infamous controversy, 2019

In January 2019, an episode of famed Indian talk show Koffee with Karan was aired on television involving Indian cricketers Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul drew a lot of flak for its insensitive, misogynistic comments through the duration of the show. While Bollywood director Karan Johar is yet to give a statement on the storm, the BCCI has clamped down on the two cricketers. The most recent press release by the Board announcing the suspension said, "The CoA in accordance with the BCCI has decided to suspend Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul from playing any form of cricket after their comments on a TV show. The duo will now return to India and an enquiry and proceedings will be made against them for misconduct and indiscipline that have been initiated under Rule 41 of the BCCI Constitution." The BCCI has since been accused of double standards since CEO Rahul Johri had, only months ago, gone scot-free with zero implications after being accused of sexual harassment with his name cropping up in the #MeToo movement. However, in the case of Pandya and Rahul, the duo have been sent back from India's overseas tour ongoing in Australia- the first instance of players being sent back in Indian cricket in 82 years. Also read: Cricket may be a ‘religion’ in India but Hardik Pandya proves cricketers definitely aren’t gods
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