HC allows 4 women athletes, banned for doping, to train

New Delhi: The Centre and the National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) were today directed by the Delhi High Court to allow four suspended women athletes to practice in its coaching centre for the upcoming Olympic Games in London.

Allowing the plea of Ashwini Akkunji, Sini Jose, Priyanka Panwar and Tiana Mary Thomas, the gold medal winners in 2010 Commonwealth Games and also in Asian Indoor Championship in 400 metre relay race, Justice Vipin Sanghi directed NADA not to restrain the athletes from practicing in a government-run centre.

The four were suspended by NADA for one year for anti-doping rule violations in December 2011.

In its order, the court directed the government to allow the petitioners to practice in SAI coaching centre in Sonepat, Haryana, with immediate effect.

The court also issued notices to the Sports Ministry and NADA and sought their responses on the plea of the athletes who have challenged the National Anti-Doping Appeal panel`s (NADAP) order upholding the disciplinary panel`s decision imposing one-year ban on them for their failure to qualify the doping test last year.

NADAP`s decision was upheld following an appeal by the athletes and a counter appeal by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), seeking enhancement of the , by NADA headed by Justice C K Mahajan (retd) on March 17, 2011.

The athletes had appealed against the ban blaming a coach who allegedly gave them food supplements but WADA has demanded their bans be enhanced to two years as it felt they should be held responsible for the presence of banned substances in their bodies.