Commonwealth Games gold medallist weightlifter Sanjita Chanu has been cleared of doping charges by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) but the Indian has demanded apology and compensation for the mental harassment and the lost opportunity to qualify for Tokyo Olympics. Also Read - Weightlifter Sanjita Chanu to Get Arjuna Award After Dope Charges Dropped
Chanu had tested positive for the anabolic steroid testosterone carried out by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) prior to the World Championships in America in November 2017. Also Read - Coronavirus Life-saving Drug Dexamethasone is Listed as Banned Substance by WADA
However, her case was marred by several anomalies and administrative goof-ups that included assigning two different numbers to the same sample. Also Read - After Sanjita Chanu Cleared of Doping Charge, Weightlifting Federation Writes to Sports Ministry For Arjuna Award
In an e-mail, IWF said, “…WADA recommends – out of fairness to the Athlete – that the case against the Athlete based on the Sample be closed.”
WADA informed IWF on May 28 that there were “certain non-conformities” at the time of the analysis of Chanu’s sample.
“As a result, the IWF has decided to withdraw the charges against the Athlete based on sample 159 90 00 and to close the matter,” it added.
Chanu, though happy, isn’t going to sit quietly. “I am happy in the sense that I am finally and officially clear from the doping charges. But, what about the chances I have lost? Who will take the responsibility of the mental trauma I have been living with?” Chanu told PTI.
“Who will take the responsibility for the mistakes that happened at every possible level? You put an athlete under suspension for years without a final judgment, and one fine day you send an e-mail saying that you are now free from charges?” she added.
The laboratory results of the tests conducted were handed to the international body on December 20, 2017 following which Chanu was put under a provisional suspension on May 15, 2018 and her ‘B’ sample returned positive on September 11 in the same year.
Her representatives then appeared before an IWF hearing panel on October 18, 2019 in Budapest, Hungary. On January 22, 2020 the provisional suspension was revoked.
The IWF has admitted to its mistake in hot giving the exact sample number of Chanu’s sample in its report. It had mentioned two different urine sample numbers in its communication of her dope test.
Chanu has accused IWF of robbing her the chance to make the cut for the Tokyo Olympics.
“Is this some kind of joke? Does IWF not care about the career of an athlete? Was it the intention of IWF to spoil my Olympic chances? Every athlete’s ultimate dream is to get a medal in the Olympic Games, and at least participating in the Games. For me, that chance had been snatched by IWF,” she said.
“This is not how IWF is supposed to function. IWF must apologise and give a genuine explanation. The responsible body or organisation or individual must be penalised. I will go to higher authority and demand compensation from IWF,” she added.
With PTI inputs