Mumbai: Six Indian women athletes, including Asian Games double gold medallist Ashwini Akkunji, have been given one-year suspensions after testing positive for banned anabolic steroids earlier this year.
400 metre runners Akkunji, Jauna Murmu, Mandeep Kaur, Priyanka Panwar, Sini Jose and Tiana Mary Thomas were found guilty in June and July and were provisionally suspended by the National Anti Doping Agency (NADA).
File photo of Ashwini Chidananda Akkunji crossing the line first to win the women’s 400m hurdles final in the athletics competition at the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou. AFP
All six athletes had tested positive for methandienone, while Thomas and Kaur’s samples also featured the banned steroid stanozolol.
The one-year bans will be effective from the date of the athletes’ provisional suspension, a NADA disciplinary panel, chaired by Dinesh Dayal, ruled on Friday.
With next year’s Olympic Games starting on 27 July, the suspensions are likely to rule the athletes out of the prestigious event in London.
Akkunji and her team mates had not taken the banned drugs intentionally so were given a reduced sentence, the disciplinary panel ruled.
File photo of athletes A Akkunji (L), MandeepKaur (C), Sini Jose (2nd R) and other sportspersons. PTI
“We did not find any significant fault on the part of these athletes on how the banned substances entered their bodies and they will get reduced penalty,” Dayal said.
Akkunji, Kaur and Jose were part of India’s 4x400m relay team that last year won gold at the Delhi Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China. Akkunji also won the 400m hurdles in Guangzhou.
Also given a suspension was Harikrishanan Muraleedharan. The male long-jumper had tested positive for methandienone and was suspended for two years.