The 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist weightlifter Ravi Kumar Katalu’s four-year doping ban along with four others by the National Anti-Doping Agency will not affect country’s quota places in next year’s Olympics in Tokyo, said national federation secretary Sahdev Yadav.
Ravi Kumar, who also won silver at the 2014 CWG in Glasgow, along with Junior CWG medallist Purnima Pandey, lesser known Hirendra Sarang, Deepika Shripal and Gaurav Tomar also tested positive for banned substances in-competition and out-of- competition respectively.
The most high-profile of the names – Ravi Kumar, tested positive for banned substance Ostarine, a Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator which can increase muscle mass, in-competition during this year’s National Championship in Visakhapatnam.
“Yes, Ravi Kumar Katalu has been handed suspension for four years. He has tested positive for SARM,” confirmed Yadav but completely rubbished speculation that the Indian Weightlifting Federation is in danger of losing quota places for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“Let me clarify the rule to you. The doping violations that will be counted are those at the international meets where Wada tests the lifters. Nada’s sanctions are not valid when it comes to international competitions,” Yadav told PTI on Tuesday.
“Therefore these sanctions will not be counted and I can assure that Indian weightlifters are safe as far as quota places for Tokyo is concerned,” Yadav added.
The new International Weightlifting Federation’s rule state that any nation with 20 or more violations at international events (Wada tested) between 2008 and 2020 will have just one male and one female weightlifter.
Those who have doping violations up to 19 lifters can send two men and two women.
The new policy came into effect last year after the International Olympic Committee threatened the sport with removal from the Olympic schedule for the Paris 2024 Games if it failed to improve its doping record.