BENGALURU: Lifter Sanjita Chanu’s hopes of seeking a clean chit in a positive dope test has hit a dead end with the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) citing administrative error resulting in a mismatch of sample numbers.
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The IWF was replying to a clarification sought by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) and admitted its clerical error but stressed that Chanu’s sample had tested positive for a banned substance. NADA and Chanu were seeking a reply from the world body following the intervention of the Prime Minister’s Office and Union sports ministry.
“In response to NADA’s email, the IWF has clarified that sample code 1599176 (in the first place it was 1599000) in the notification is due to an administrative mistake and the same has been communicated to both the athlete and the Weightlifting Federation of India,” NADA said in its reply to the ministry’s query.
The NADA letter, a copy of which TOI has accessed, further said: “Thus Sanjita Chanu needs to explain before the IWF hearing panel regarding the anti-doping rule violation.”
Meanwhile, Chanu, a gold medal winner in the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, was not satisfied with the world body’s response and shot off a letter to Eva Nyirfa, legal counsel at IWF, asking the world body to elaborate on their mistake. “In one of your replies to IWF’s inquiry into double sample numbers, you are found mentioning that ‘the second reference to another sample code in the notification letter is due an administrative mistake. Madam, could you please elaborate on the term administrative mistake. How come such a highly responsible federation make such a grievous mistake on such a highly important document,” Chanu asked, “I wish an inquiry to be instituted to understand the reason behind this unpardonable mistake”. The letter was sent on June 25 but even after a month the weightlifter is yet to get any response personally from IWF.
According to IWF, Chanu’s sample (code no. 1599000) was collected on November 18, 2017 at Las Vegas by the US Anti-Doping Agency during an out of competition test. “The lab results, which found the sample positive, were reported on December 20 and USADA forwarded a copy to Chanu’s email with a copy to IWF and World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada),” the NADA letter said.