Kamalpreet Kaur banned for three years - Explained

Kamalpreet Kaur had finished sixth at the Tokyo Olympics. ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP via Getty Images

Kamalpreet Kaur, India's best discus thrower in recent times, has been banned for three years by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU). The AIU, in a statement on Wednesday, stated that Kaur had tested positive for a banned substance [stanozolol] in a test conducted on March 7 this year.

Kaur's ban comes days after Indian javelin thrower Shivpal Singh, who competed at the Tokyo Olympics, was handed a four-year suspension for failing a dope test last year.

Here's all you need to know about Kamalpreet Kaur's ban -

Who is Kamalpreet Kaur?

Kaur has been among India's top athletes and set a national record of 66.59m at the Indian Grand Prix IV in June last year to seal her berth at the Tokyo Olympics. She had a good run at the Games as she finished second in her group and advanced to the final round, where she finished sixth with a best throw of 63.70m. It was the third-best performance by an Indian in a field event at the Games. The three-year ban will rule Kaur out of the 2023 Asian Games as well as the 2024 Paris Olympics.

What does the AIU ruling say?

The AIU says Kaur faces a three-year ban for using stanozolol, which comes under the list of banned substances. Kaur had provided a urine sample in an out-of-competition test in Patiala on March 7. Three weeks later, a WADA accredited laboratory in Lausanne, Switzerland reported an Adverse Analytical Finding in the sample for the presence of stanozolol. Kaur was informed of the same on March 29.

What is stanozolol?

Stanozolol is classified as an anabolic steroid and is in the list of banned substances as per World Athletics. Stanozolol gained notoriety when Ben Johnson was stripped of his 100m gold medal at the 1988 Seoul Olympics after the traces of the steroid were found in his urine sample.

Why was Kaur tested?

The AIU had included Kaur in its Registered Testing Pool (RTP) this year. Being part of the RTP essentially means the athletes have to regularly inform the AIU about their whereabouts, during a pre-decided time window, each day.

The athlete will have to provide full quarterly whereabouts details and a 60 minute, no notice, time slot where they can be found without fail.

For example, if Kaur was given a time of 1 pm to 2 pm, then she is obliged to inform the AIU of her whereabouts every single day at that time period. The AIU, in turn, can choose any day to conduct a random test on the athlete, which could either be during a competition or off of it. The other Indian to feature on that list is Olympic champion, Neeraj Chopra.

What was Kaur's defence?

As per the AIU, "On 11 April 2022, the Athlete confirmed that she would not request the B Sample analysis or the A Sample and/or B Sample Laboratory Documentation Packages ("LDPs") unless she was assisted with the related costs." She sent her four of the protein supplements she was using to a private laboratory in New Delhi, which found "traces of steroid" in one of those supplements.

What then?

The AIU provided Kaur with the results of the analysis of the protein supplement by the New Delhi laboratory, which confirmed that Stanozolol had been detected in the protein supplement. She was subsequently asked to appear for an interview on July 1. Kaur said in the interview that she used the protein supplement five days per week, on training days, from around 10-15 February 2022 until and including two days before the doping control (i.e., 5 March 2022). However, there was no explanation regarding how she got the supplements.

The AIU noted "following a review of her explanation for the Adverse Analytical Finding, it was the AIU's position that she had not established how the prohibited substance entered her body and that she had committed Anti-Doping Rule Violations under Rule 2.1 ADR, Rule 2.2 ADR. The athlete was also informed that those Anti-Doping Rule Violations warranted a period of Ineligibility of four (4) years pursuant to Rules 10.2.1(a) ADR..."

Under what Articles of the ADR has a ban been enforced?

Article 2.1 (Presence of a prohibited substance or its metabolites or markers in an athlete's sample) and Article 2.2 (Use or attempted use by an athlete of a prohibited substance or a prohibited method)

Why has her ban been reduced to three years?

Kaur admitted to the violation within 20 days of receiving the notice from the AIU and hence got a reduced sentence. As per the AIU "if the Athlete or other Person admits the violation and accepts the asserted period of Ineligibility no later than 20 days after receiving the Notice of Charge, the Athlete or other Person may receive a one (1) year reduction in the period of Ineligibility asserted by the Integrity Unit."

What is the road ahead for Kaur?

Kaur's three-year ineligibility period begins from March 29, 2022 (the date of Provisional Suspension) and all of her results on and since March 7, 2022 will stand null and void.

India continues to be notorious for doping cases and is ranked third in the world, as per the latest World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report released in 2021. India had 152 cases of doping across disciplines, below only Russia (167) and Italy (157).