Jithin Paul becomes first Indian athlete to be banned by NADA for possession of drug
For the first time in Indian sport an athlete has been sanctioned for possessing a banned drug.
What's the story?
The National Anti Doping Agency (NADA), for the first time in Indian sport, has banned an athlete for the possession of an illegal drug. The disciplinary committee handed over a suspension of four years to hurdler Jithin Paul.
He was charged under the section of article 2.6.1 of the World Anti Doping Code which states that an athlete can be charged with a rule violation if he or she is in possession of a prohibited substance in or out of competition.
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The roots of the development started back in April when the Anti-Doping officers made a surprise visit to the Milkha Singh Hostel block at the NIS in Patiala to check the rooms of the coaches and athletes. During that search, carnitine (prescribed to burn fat) and injections of Mnaapohat were recovered from Jithin’s room.
The heart of the matter
The disciplinary panel’s order stated, “After considering all the written/oral submissions of the parties and evidence presented by both the sides, the panel concludes that athlete Mr Jithin Paul was in possession of Prohibited Substance Meldonium and violated Article 2.6 of the Anti-Doping rules of NADA 201.”
‘Meldonium’, which falls under the category of non-specified substance, was used by the hurdler. The committee also specified that Jithin had no reasonable explanation for possessing the prohibited substance in his room.
Paul has never been tested positive, in competition and out of competition, and insisted that the injection containing ‘Meldonium’ was not seized from his room and no seizure memo was given either. Interestingly, injections were also recovered from Paul’s roommate Muhammad Kunju, but tests suggest he was not using any banned substance.
In the future, athletes have to be careful about what substance they are using, because the strict rules laid by the NADA will definitely not escape it.
In fact, Maria Sharapova was also banned for possessing ‘Meldonium’ back in 2016 and had to stay out of action during her prime. The World Anti Doping Agency has been doing a tedious task in eradicating the use of banned substances by athletes and has been moderately successful so far. It is the responsibility of the athletes to keep their medication in check ahead of various competitions.