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Indian weightlifter Sanjita Chanu cleared of doping charge by IWF; demands apology and compensation

The Indian Weightlifter said that the IWF has robbed her of the chance to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics due to its callous attitude. 

Jun 10, 2020 13:42 IST
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Indian weightlifter K Sanjita Chanu has been cleared of doping charge by the International Weightlifting Federation due to “non-conformities” in the handling of her sample. The IWF took the decision based on the recommendation of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). 

The Commonwealth Games gold-medallist has now demanded an apology and compensation for the “trauma” she endured due to the doping charges. The 26-year-old had claimed her innocence right from the beginning.

Speaking after being cleared of the charges, K Sanjita Chanu said that she was happy in the sense that she was finally and officially cleared 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 asked.

She further asked who will take responsibility for the mistakes that have 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.

IWF’s Final Verdict 

Chanu was informed about the final verdict on her doping charges through an email from the International Weightlifting Federation. The IWF email read that WADA has recommended out of fairness to the athlete that the case based on the sample should be closed.

The mail further stated that IWF was told by WADA on May 28 that there were “certain non-conformities” at the time of the analysis of Chanu’s sample. Due to this, the IWF decided to withdraw the charges against the Athlete based on sample 159 90 00 and close the matter.

WADA had last month partially suspended the accreditation of a laboratory in Salt Lake City for a month due to “non-conformities” relating to its documents. The same lab had tested Chanu’s sample.

K Sanjita Chanu’s case

Sanjita Chanu had tested positive for anabolic steroid testosterone before the World Championships in America in November 2017. The test was carried out by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

The laboratory results of the tests were handed over to the International Weightlifting Federation on December 20. The weightlifter was then put under provisional suspension on May 15, 2018. Her ‘B’ sample returned positive on September 2018. 

On October 18, 2019, Chanu’s representatives appeared before a hearing panel of the International Weightlifting Federation in Budapest, Hungary. Her provisional suspension was revoked on January 22, 2019. 

The IWF admitted to having made a mistake in giving the exact sample number of Chanu’s sample in its report. The world body had mistakenly mentioned two different urine sample numbers in its communication of her dope test.

Chanu’s Reaction

The Indian Weightlifter said that the IWF has robbed her of the chance to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics due to its callous attitude. She demanded an apology and compensation from the world body for causing her mental harassment. She said that it is every athlete’s ultimate dream to win a medal in the Olympic Games or at least participate in it.

She further slammed IWF’s handling of the situation by saying that this is not how IWF is supposed to function. She demanded that IWF must give a genuine explanation and the responsible body or organisation or individual must be penalised. 

Background

Sanjita Chanu’s case had been dragging on since November 2017. It had been marred by several anomalies and administrative goof-ups since the beginning including assigning two different numbers to the same sample. Chanu had won gold medals at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in the women’s 48 kg and 53 kg weight category respectively. 

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