After the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) lifted the provisional suspension, Khumukcham Sanjita Chanu is relieved now but she said that she was really sad and helpless after the suspension. The weightlifter even had thought of quitting the sport and the job at Indian Railways.
Chanu was handed over a provisional suspension after her urine sample, which was taken prior to the World Championships in November, tested positive for anabolic steroid testosterone. But, now with the federation revoking the suspension, the25-year-old weightlifter is happy but she thinks that the battle is not over as the hearing panel of the world body is yet to announce its final decision on Chanu’s failed dope test.
"I am happy that the provisional suspension has been lifted and I am confident that a favourable decision is coming from the hearing panel of the IWF. But at the same time, I am distraught thinking about the mental trauma I went through. I was so sad and helpless that I thought of quitting the sport. I told my parents that I will also resign from my job (of a senior TTE in Indian Railways). I could not eat and sleep properly. Life was meaningless for me. But somehow my family convinced me that it is better to prove my innocence before taking these extreme steps," Sanjita told PTI.
"I know what is a banned substance and what is not and all this is told at national camps regularly. All of a sudden I was told, I failed a dope test and that too six months after the sample was taken and after I had won a gold in the CWG." Sanjita said.
Chanu, who won gold medals in 2014 and 2018 Commonwealth Games in the 48kg and 53 kg categories respectively, had to wait for a long time for the verdict of the doping charges. Her urine sample was taken in November 2017 and the reports of the laboratory tests were given to the federation on December 20.
However, only after she clinched gold at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games last year, she was handed over the provisional suspension by the world body in the month of May. She was not allowed to participate at the Asian Games in Indonesia and the World Championships held in 2018 and according to her the charges of doping affected her reputation.
"It is really painful to cope with doping charges for an athlete who has never used a banned substance. I am innocent and I am vindicated now. The doping charge has dented my reputation. I want to come back and win medals for the country. The federation has told me that I can join the national camp if I want and I am doing that. I want to compete in the World Championships this year and qualify for the 2020 Olympics.
"I have learnt certain things that when you are down and out, you have to run around for help from others and not the other way round. But I will let bygones be bygones," the weightlifter concluded.