Indian sprinter Dutee Chand will challenge the four-year ban imposed on her by the National Anti-Doping Agency for failing two out-of-competition dope tests for a banned substance, according to reports.

Chand was served the ban after two samples taken on December 5 and 26 last year were found to contain “other anabolic agents/SARMS”, which is listed under “WADA’s 2023 prohibited list of non-specified substances,” according to The Times of India.

Her four-year ban was imposed retrospectively from January, and she had three weeks to appeal the decision.

Chand is a two-time Asian Games silver medallist who holds the Indian national 100-metre women’s record of 11.17 seconds. She is also one of the country’s most famous LGBTQ+ figures.

The 27-year-old said in June that she intended to retire after competing in the Paris Games next year, which would have been her third Olympic appearance after Rio and Tokyo.

The sprinter had allegedly been unable to demonstrate that she had taken prohibited drugs without “significant fault or negligence,” TOI reported, quoting an order by India’s Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel.

Chand tested positive for Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators, a class of drugs that mimic the effect of anabolic steroids, according to the report.

Chand’s counsel Parth Goswami told PTI on Friday that the sprinter had been a “clean athlete” all her professional career and it was a case of “unintentional consumption” as claimed before NADA’s Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel.

She waged a long battle against a ban from competition after she was diagnosed in 2014 with hyperandrogenism, a condition which produces high quantities of male sex hormones, or testosterone.

Chand took her case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport which ruled in her favour, allowing her to compete in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, where she won silver medals in the 100m and 200m women’s races.

“For us, this is a clear case of unintentional consumption of a banned substance,” her lawyer, Goswami, said. “We were clearly able to establish the source of the substance in the body, which is a substantial proof of lack of intent. The substance was never used to gain any sporting advantage. We are in process of filing an appeal. We are hopeful that we will be able to convince the appeal panel.

“Dutee is the pride of India and is a clean athlete. She has had an illustrious career of over a decade. She has undergone hundreds of dope tests internationally and nationally and has always been clean in her long career,” he added.

The Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel, meanwhile, said in its order: “The athlete and her counsel had without refuting the findings of the NDTL (National Dope Testing Laboratory) report stated that the consumption of the said substance was unintentional and the ingestion of the same had been advised by the physiotherapist who was being regularly consulted by the athlete.

“The athlete and her counsels submitted that the said physiotherapist had been attached with the athlete from the Pullela Gopichand Academy where the athlete was training under special permission.”

Chand’s counsel had submitted that the sprinter was “hyperandrogenic” owing to which she was having “severe groin pain” because of which the treatment was recommended.

The Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel also said that the athlete had “delegated the task of purchasing the drugs to her friend”, who was also a witness in the case.

(With inputs from PTI and AFP)