Lifter Mirabai Chanu underwent four dope tests in a month

December 13, 2017, Delhi

BoxingMirabai Chanu


NEW DELHI: Newly-crowned world champion, Saikhom Mirabai Chanu, finds herself in the crosshairs of International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) and National Anti-Doping Agency (Nada). The diminutive Manipuri lifter, who recently won the gold medal in California in 48kg category, has surprisingly been subjected to dope testing four times within a span of one month.

This is probably the first time that an Indian athlete has been targetted thus. Mirabai, who ended India’s 22-year drought at the Worlds with her gold, has been subjected to back-to-back dope testing by ‘Dope Control Officers’ (DCOs) of Nada ever since she returned home from Anaheim, California.

Mirabai’s blood and urine samples (out-of-competition) were first collected by DCOs the moment she reached the national camp in Patiala last Sunday. The very next day, when Mirabai reached Kapurthala to participate in the Inter-Railways competition, the same team of DCOs collected her urine sample during an in-competition testing, leaving the 23-year-old perplexed as to what wrong she has done that Nada’s team was chasing her like this.

These two sample collections came soon after Mirabai’s blood and urine samples were collected twice – on two separate occasions – by the IWF, first on November 12 in Las Vegas where the Indian team had stationed itself for a preparatory camp ahead of the World Championships, and then on November 28 when the reigning Commonwealth champion won the historic gold for the country.

“As far as my memory goes, it has never happened in the history of Indian sports that an athlete has been subjected to back-to-back dope testing within 24 hours. It’s akin to putting an athlete under the cloud of suspicion. Within a month, she has been dope tested four times. This is totally unacceptable.

“The rule book says an athlete can be dope tested by DCOs as many times as they want, but collecting samples within a span of 24 hours? I have never come across anything like this. Mirabai’s morale and confidence is down due to these frequent dope testing,” Indian Weightlifting Federation secretary Sahdev Yadav told TOI, confirming the development.

Yadav had another piece of shocking information to share. “In the last three years, Mirabai has been dope tested at least 30 times by the IWF and Nada under the suspicion that she is taking performance enhancing drugs. We all know the truth that she has never failed a dope test. I can’t understand why she has been singled out by the IWF and Nada?” Yadav added.

An official, who is attached to the weightlifting camp in Patiala, alleged that Nada has been targeting Mirabai on the instructions of IWF since the discipline has a history of dope cheats.

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