Doping row: Six athletes banned for 1 year by NADA

Zeenews Sports Bureau

New Delhi: The National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) on Friday banned the six athletes for one year. The athletes were banned from competitive events for a period of twelve months after they flunked dope test.

All the six quartermilers -- Mandeep Kaur, Sini Jose, Mary Tiana Thomas, Priyanka Pawar, Jauna Murmu and Akkunji -- who flunked dope tests for banned steroids were not present when the decision was announced at the National Anti-Doping Agency headquarters.

All of them can appeal against the bans to NADA appellate panel but their lawyers said they would assess the judgement before taking a decision on that.

NADA panel head Dinesh Dayal announced a reduced penalty period as the athletes were not found guilty of intentionally taking the banned substances. The maximum suspension stands at two years for first-time violators.

"We find all the six athletes guilty of doping violations under clause 2.1 of Anti-doping Rule. The date of suspension begins from today and any period under provisional suspension shall be credited in their penalty period which is one year," he told reporters.

"We did not find any significant fault on the part of these athletes on how the banned substance entered their bodies and they will get reduced penalty under clause 10.5.2 NADA rule. Two athletes -- Mary Tiana Thomas and Jauna Murmu -- were tested twice in May and June and they cannot be held guilty on two counts," he said.

Akkunji, who won a gold in 400m hurdles and 4x400m relay in the Asian Games will not be able to participate in the London Olympics as she will have to serve ban period upto July 3 2012 as she was handed provisional suspension on July 4 this year.

However, the lawyer for the athletes has asserted that they would be eligible to compete in the London Olympics later next year, a claim that has failed to spark any hope among the experts of the game.

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