India’s two-time Commonwealth Games gold medalist in weightlifting, Ravi Kumar Katalu, and four others have been banned for four years by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) on Tuesday.
Katalu was tested positive for banned substance Ostarine, which helps in muscle mass, during senior national weightlifting championships held in February 2019. Other who have also been found violating the anti-doping code are 2016 junior Commonweatth Championship gold medal winner Purnima Pandey, discuss thrower Dharam Raj Yadav, short distance sprinter Sanjeet and weightlifter Gurmail Singh. The four athletes too have have been suspended for four years.
This comes as a big blow for India as Indian lifters could lose 2010 Tokyo Olympics quota places after the suspensions.
As per the International Weightlifting Federation any nation with 20 or more doping violations from 2008 to 2020 will have just one male and one female lifter at the Games. Countries with 10 to 19 doping violations over that same period will be limited to two men and two women in Tokyo and India falls into this category, as reported by The Times of India
However, the more worrying thing for IWLF and the NADA is the presence of Ostarine in the samples of Ravi Kumar and Sanjeet as this substance has previously not been found in samples involving Indian athletes as reported by TOI.
Ostarine is an investigational drug that has not yet been approved by the FDA and is mostly found in bodybuilders. It is mostly found in supplements used by bodybuilders and has also been tried on those who have suffered muscle wastage due to long illness or have been diagnosed with osteoporosis.