Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games | India's relay team member fails drug test, to be removed from CWG team

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After failing a drug test for a prohibited substance, a member of the Indian women's 4x100m relay team that is headed to the CWG will be removed from the team. The identity of the drug offender cannot be confirmed by any official; the news comes after two other athletes had tested positive earlier.

“A member of the relay team bound for CWG has tested positive and she will be withdrawn," a top source told PTI without elaborating.

The women's 4x100m relay squad now has just four members after the most recent drug failure. The team's performance will be impacted if one of the remaining four members becomes injured, necessitating the enlistment of a replacement from another track event. Dutee Chand, Hima Das, Srabani Nanda, NS Simi, Sekar Dhanalakshmi, and MV Jilna were among the original 37 members of the Indian athletics team announced by the Athletics Federation of India (AFI).

Jilna was eventually removed from the squad due to the Indian Olympic Association being given a quota of just 36 participants. However, Jilna was substituted with Dhanalakshmi, who had also tested positive for drugs, later.

The drug offender apparently joined the squad late, but it could not be confirmed. A few days prior, two more CWG-bound athletes, top sprinter Sekar Dhanalakshmi and triple jumper Aishwarya Babu, were dismissed from the Indian squad after each of them returned two adverse drug tests.

Aishwarya passed two in-competition examinations whereas Dhanalakshmi failed two tests conducted outside of competition.

Anabolic steroids were present in Dhanalakshmi's dope samples, whilst Ostarine, a substance classified as a selective androgen receptor modulator (SARM), was discovered in Aishwarya's samples collected on June 13 and 14 in Chennai during the National Inter-State Championships. Aneesh Kumar, a para discus thrower, and Geeta, a para powerlifter, have both tested positive for prohibited drugs.

The NADA authorities gathered the drug samples outside of the competition. While Kumar's sample was discovered to contain diuretics and the masking drug Hydrochlorothiazide, Geeta came back positive for anabolic steroids.

Geeta has been removed from the CWG team and given a provisional ban. On the other hand, because hydrochlorothiazide is a chemical that is specifically listed under the WADA Code, Kumar is likely to participate in the CWG despite not having received a temporary suspension.

For some drugs, a temporary suspension is not required. Although Kumar did not request a previous Therapeutic Use Exemption, a Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) source said the banned chemical discovered in his sample was caused by a blood pressure medication he used (TUE).

According to him, Kumar can provide an explanation for how the chemical entered his body by August 9 according to the NADA letter that was delivered to him. “Aneesh has informed the NADA that the substance found in his sample was due to the medicine he took for blood pressure,” the PCI source said.

“Since he was not handed provisional suspension, we are hoping that he will be cleared for CWG. However, Geeta cannot go for CWG,” the source claimed.

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