India's two-time Commonwealth Games champion weightlifter Sanjita Chanu might lose her Gold Coast gold medal after testing positive for a banned anabolic steroid. Sanjita was provisionally suspended by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) on Thursday.
The 24-year-old Manipuri weightlifter, who had won a gold in the women's 53kg category in the recent Gold Coast CWG, has tested positive for testosterone. She is one of the women weightlifters from India to win gold in two different editions of the Commonwealth Games (Glasgow 2014 and Gold Coast 2018).
However, Sanjita is now in the danger of losing her gold medal that she won in Gold Coast in the women’s 53kg category.
"IWF reports that the sample of Ms. Sanjita Chanu Khumukcham (IND) has returned an Adverse Analytical Finding for Testosterone (S1.1 Anabolic Agents). As a consequence, the Athlete is provisionally suspended in view of a potential anti-doping rule violation," the IWF stated.
In her defence, Sanjita said she had just taken supplements provided by the IWF. "I have only taken supplements provided by the Federation and my samples (both urine and blood) have been tested many times but it was always negative," she said, as quoted by The Times of India.
“Before I left for the Worlds I gave my sample and the NADA/WADA team took my sample again in Patiala after we returned from USA. So I’m puzzled how this sample, which was given in between these two tests turned positive?” she wondered. “If the B sample is also positive, then I’m sure something has happened. Either, they tested the wrong sample or someone spiked my sample. We all took the same supplements and how come only my sample returned a positive test. It can’t happen that away,” Sanjita added.
The IWF did not give details, such as the dates, of the dope test sample collection, saying "it will not make any further comments on the case until it is closed".
It has been learnt that Sanjita has been asked to leave the camp by the Indian Weightlifting Federation and she has left for her home in Manipur. The other weightlifters are currently training at SAI Centre at Shilaroo in Himachal Pradesh.
It's not clear when her dope sample was taken as none of the top officials of the Indian Weightlifting Federation were available for comments. Several attempts to contact them remained unanswered.
It is speculated that the positive dope result could have come from her 'A' sample taken during the World Championship in Anaheim (US) in November last year. If that was the case, it is not known how the dope result was published so late since it is already six months since World Championship got over.
If her positive dope result came from a recent test, Sanjita is expected to request for a 'B' sample test. If her 'B' sample also tests positive, she is expected to be handed a maximum of four-year ban from the sport.
Before Sanjita's case, 12 Indian weightlifters have tested positive in the tests conducted by the international federation from 2008.
(With PTI inputs)