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I'm innocent but don't know if I should appeal, have already faced this trauma before: Sanjita Chanu on failed dope test

"I have been in this situation before. But I am not able to understand how this has happened," Sanjita Chanu said.

Im innocent but dont know if I should appeal, have already faced this trauma before: Sanjita Chanu on failed dope test

Sanjita Chanu has not represented India since her 2018 CWG gold medal. She now trains overtime to make up for lost time.



Updated: 7 Jan 2023 3:58 PM GMT

Indian weightlifter Sanjita Chanu once again finds herself embroiled in a dope controversy and while the two-time Commonwealth Games champion claims innocence, she is faced with the dilemma of whether to appeal and relive the similar trauma she faced years ago.

Sanjita has been handed a provisional suspension by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) after she tested positive for an anabolic steroid -- Drostanolone Metabolite -- that features in the World Anti-doping Agency's (WADA) prohibited list, during the in-competition test at the National Games in September-October last year.

The 2011 Asian Championship bronze medallist had been banned by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) in 2018 after she tested positive for anabolic steroid testosterone carried out by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) prior to the World Championships in America in November 2017.

In 2020, the world body had, however, dropped the doping charge against Chanu due to "non-conformities" in the handling of her sample.

"I have been in this situation before. But I am not able to understand how this has happened. Since that incident, I have been very careful about my diet and everything. I check my supplements carefully and ask if they are free of all dope free," Sanjita told PTI from Guwahati.

"I don't know how this substance has entered my urine. I don't know if someone has put this in on purpose or what has happened, I can't understand. I have checked the supplements I have consumed, and this is not in that," she added.

Sanjita, who was told about the result a month ago, was absolutely convinced that the result was a false positive and asked her 'B' Sample to be analysed, which also came positive.

"I sent a mail to NADA saying I can't believe this and requested to check the B Sample. I went to Delhi and stayed there all day to get the B Sample checked in front of me but that also tested positive. I am not able to understand how this has happened."

The two years between 2018 and 2020 had been tough for Sanjita, who had been pushed to the brink of quitting the sport.

"Last time this happened I lost so much, my reputation, the chance to compete in the Olympics, Asian Games, etc. So, I was extra cautious as I was aiming for Paris and Asian Games. I got a good result in the National Games and now again this doping incident has happened."

"I thought to file a case that someone has mixed something in my food but I don't know who will do such a thing. I trained in Manipur and then for 10 days in a Mumbai camp before going," she added.

Sanjita will now have to appear before NADA's anti-doping disciplinary panel of the National Anti-Doping Agency to prove her innocence and if she is found guilty, she can get a four-year suspension for the offense. She will also be stripped of her National Games silver medal.

"I have already experienced this why will I dope again and go through this again? I don't know if I want to appeal or not. In both cases I will lose. If I appeal it will take time to clear my name and I will lose out on the chance to qualify for the Olympics and Asian Games, if I don't I will be suspended."

"I have already lost all my savings before to clear my name. The B Sample has also tested positive, so how will I prove my innocence," a tearful Sanjita said.

The 29-year-old from Manipur has written to the NADA, asking for a "faster and simpler" way to prove her innocence.

"With due respect to the integrity of NDTL & NADA, I still want to declare myself innocent and I did not consume any banned substance," she wrote in her letter to NADA, a copy of which is in possession of PTI.

"Keeping my previous controversial dope case resolution experience in mind, I would like to find a simple and a faster way to prove my innocence and resolve my case."

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