Satnam Singh Bhamara, the first Indian player to be drafted into an NBA team in 2015, has been provisionally suspended by the National Anti-Doping Agency after he failed a dope test last month. The 23-year-old Punjab cager has failed an out-of-competition test conducted in Bangalore by the National Anti-Doping Agency during the preparatory camp for the South Asian Games.
He was provisionally suspended on November 19, according to the newsletter released by the NADA.
Bhamara pulled out of the 13th South Asian Games which began on December 1, citing personal reasons. The 7-foot-2-inch player was training at the SAI Centre, Bangalore for the South Asian Games.
The prohibited substance found from Bhamara's 'A' sample of his urine is not known.
According to NADA rules, an athlete has the right to request for the analysis of his/her 'B' Sample within seven working days of receiving the notice concerning Adverse Analytical Finding of his/her 'A' Sample.
If his 'B' sample also returns positive, his case will be heard by the NADA's Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel which will decide whether to impose punishment or not. If Bhamara is found guilty of doping, he faces a maximum ban of four years for a first time offender.
However, it is not known whether Bhamara requested for the analysis of his 'B' sample.
Basketball Federation of India Chander Mukhi Sharma said he was not aware of Bhamara's doping issue as he has been out of station.
"I am not aware of this issue and I will be able to attend office only on December 15," Sharma told PTI.
Asked why the federation would not know of the doping issue for which the provisional suspension was handed on November 19, he said, "The letter from the NADA (to the BFI) must have come in a sealed envelope and I have not seen it.
"So, I don't know the prohibited substance found in the player's sample. Otherwise, the player himself must be having the letter from the NADA and he must be knowing it."
Sharma said that Bhamara had written a letter to the BFI, saying that he would be pulling out of the South Asian Games due to some personal reasons.
"We have no suspicion that Bhamara may be taking substances. He simply told us in a letter that he was having some personal problems and so he will not take part in the South Asian Games."
In 2015, Bhamara created history when he was picked in the NBA draft by Dallas Mavericks. He went on to play the next two years in the Development League with Texas Legends, an affiliate of Dallas Mavericks.
After returning to India for a year, Bhamara again created history in September 2018 by becoming the first Indian cager to play in the National Basketball League of Canada after signing a deal with St John's Edge.
He has represented India in major tournaments like Asian Championships, 2018 Commonwealth Games, and 2019 World Cup Qualifiers.