Sports

Asiad medallist Poovamma handed 2-year ban by Anti-Doping Appeal Panel

Poovamma won a bronze in the individual 400m in the 2012 Asian Games. She received the Arjuna Award in 2015.

Senior India quarter-miler and Asian Games medallist MR Poovamma has been handed a two-year ban for flunking a dope test last year as the Anti-Doping Appeal Panel (ADAP) of the NADA overturned a disciplinary panel decision to hand her a three-month suspension.

The 32-year-old Poovamma’s dope sample collected on February 18 last year, during the Indian Grand Prix I in Patiala, had returned positive for stimulant methylhexaneamine, a specified substance under World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code. The Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel in a June order had handed her just three months suspension.

On appeal by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) against the disciplinary panel decision, the ADAP handed Poovamma a two-year ban.

“We set aside the impugned order dated 16.06.2022 as passed by Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel and allow the appeal of NADA and consequently impose a sanction of 02 years under Article 10.2.2 ineligibility upon the Athlete,” the Anti-Doping Appeal Panel headed by Abhinav Mukerji said in its order dated September 16.

“We also direct that under Article 10.10 all other competitive results obtained by the athlete from the date of sample collection i.e., 18.02.2021 shall be disqualified and all resulting consequences including forfeiture of medals, points and prizes shall follow.”

The appeal panel said, “Once the presence of the prohibited substance is established in the body of the athlete and no exculpatory or mitigating circumstances exist, the natural consequences under the ADR follows.” Poovamma was a member of the gold-winning 4x400m women’s and mixed relay teams in the 2018 Asian Games and also part of the 4x400m relay squad that won the gold at the 2014 Asian Games.

She also won a bronze in the individual 400m in the 2012 Asian Games. She received the Arjuna Award in 2015.

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There was speculation over Poovamma’s dope flunk last year after she skipped the relay trials in Patiala just a few weeks before the Tokyo Olympics. She later left the national camp which had surprised many.

She had won silver medals in Indian Grand Prix I and II in Thiruvananthapuram on March 13 and 23, respectively, with timings of 53.39sec and 52.44sec (season’s best). She had also won a silver in the Federation Cup in Malappuram in April with a time of 52.70s.

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