Athletics doping scandal ends, 6 runners handed enhanced ban

NEW DELHI: Indian athletics’ biggest doping scandal involving six top women athletes, including three Asian and Commonwealth Games gold medallists, ended with the Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sports awarding an enhanced ban of two years on them.

The world’s highest sports tribunal upheld International Athletics Federation’s (IAAF) appeal to increase the ban period of the six Indian athletes from one to two years.

“The IAAF’s appeal has been upheld by the CAS and the six Indian athletes have lost their case. Their two-year ban period will start from the day of provisional suspension slapped on them by the NADA,” a top Athletics Federation of India official told PTI.

The decision of the CAS, announced last night in Lausanne, is final and no appeal lies against its decision.

Three of the six athletes were present at the hearing held on Monday while the other three pleaded their case via teleconference.

Ashwini Akkunji, Mandeep Kaur and Sini Jose were part of the Indian 4X400m relay quartet that won gold in 2010 Commonwealth Games here and the Asian Games in Guangzhou a month later. The other three dope-flunked athletes are Juana Murmu, Priyanka Panwar and Tiana Mary Thomas — all 400m runners.

Ashwini, 24, had also won a gold in 400m hurdles in the 2010 Asian Games while Mandeep, also 24, was a member of the Indian 4x400m relay-winning team in the 2006 Doha Asian Games.

With the CAS ruling that the ban begins from the day of provisional suspension, Ashwini and Priyanka would serve ban till July 3 next year as they were provisionally suspended on July 4 last year.

Mandeep and Juana will be banned till June 23 next year while Sini and Mary Thomas will serve ban till June 30 next year. -PTI

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