Asian Games gold medallist Amit Panghal is eligible for the National Sports Awards. Earlier, Panghal, who was India's first and only silver-medallist at the world championships, was nominated twice for the Arjuna award.
In 2012, Panghal underwent treatment for chicken pox, which resulted in the exclusion from receiving the sporting honor, despite his tall achievements.
The sports ministry has made athletes and coaches with doping violations eligible for the National Sports Awards, as they have successfully endured their ban periods. The decision will benefit boxer Amit Panghal, whose "unintended" doping violation had earlier denied him from receiving sporting honors.
Top-ranked Indian boxer Amit Panghal fell short in his bout against Yuberjen Martinez in a 1-4 split decision at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
Sports Ministry allows Amit Panghal and other athletes to be eligible for national sporting honors
The sports ministry in a circular mentioned that all athletes penalized for doping violations will now be eligible at the end of their suspensions. However, athletes still serving the ban period will not be considered for the awards.
"The athletes shall be eligible to be considered for the award after completion of their sentence/penalty/suspension/ban period. The achievement during the said suspension/punishment would not be considered," the sports ministry stated. "The sportsperson against whom enquiry is pending/ongoing will not be considered," it added.
Asian Games champion Amit Panghal has been nominated twice for the Arjuna award. The 25-year-old Olympian maintained that the dope violation was an accidental intake at the youth level, while he was undergoing treatment for chicken pox. In 2020, Panghal was nominated for Khel Ratna.
The ministry has similarly relaxed the rules for coaches as well, but coaches have rarely been penalized for any dope violations in Indian sports.
"A coach found encouraging the use of drugs/substances banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) based on a sample collected by the National Anti-Doping Agecy (NADA)...shall be eligible for the Dronacharya award after completion of their sentence," added the Sports ministry.
Apart from dope consumption violations, several national federations, like the Wrestling Federation of India and others, have their own disciplinary framework to restrict or ban coaches who are found guilty of supplying banned substances or encouraging their usage.
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