Indian judoka Deepanshu Balayan has been handed a 22-month suspension by NADA’s Anti Doping Disciplinary Panel (ADDP) for the consumption of prohibited substance Furosemide, which is a diuretic medicine. Balayan had tested positive for the banned substance after his sample was collected during trials held in Bhopal in June last year to select the national team for the junior Asian Judo Championship. He had won the trials in the 90kg category. Also Read - Anti-Doping Measures at IPL: NADA Might Outsource Sample Collection For T20 Tournament

Since NADA failed to establish that Balayan’s dope offence was intentional, the panel shot down the agency’s recommendation of a harsher punishment which is four years as per clause 10.2.1 of the rule book. Also Read - Former Captain of Indian Physically Challenged Cricket Team Applies For Peon's Job to Support Family

The ineligibility period for such an unintentional offence is two years but it has been reduced by two months because the athlete didn’t receive the NADA notice on time. Also Read - Post Nirbhaya Horror, Number of Girls Taking to The Sport Has Drastically Risen: Judo Guru Munawar Anzar

The suspension period is now one year and 10 months, starting from October 17, 2019 when he was suspended provisionally. The athlete has provision to appeal against the punishment to NADA’s Anti Doping Appeals Panel (ADAP) in the next 21 days.

The ADDP panel comprising chairperson Aahna Mehrotra, Jagbir Singh and Dr PSM Chandran concluded that the judoka should have informed his doctor about him being a sportsperson and the medicines should have been prescribed accordingly.

Furosemide is a diuretic that increases the production of urine thereby reducing body weight.

“Since in Judo, players are categorized on the basis of their weights, the diuretic may have aided the Athlete to compete in a category lower than his weight and/or fit into a certain weight category to be eligible to compete,” the report stated.

While ADDP admitted that Balayan was not able to establish that there was no significant fault or negligence on his part, it also didn’t agree with NADA’s assertion that the Anti Doping Rules Violation (ADRV) by the athlete was “intentional”.

“NADA didn’t provide any evidence that the Athlete has intentionally consumed the prohibited substance. Further Athlete’s failure to declare medicines consumed in Dope Control Form (DCF) does not establish Athlete’s intention to cheat,” the report stated.

(With PTI Inputs)