India's star female gymnast Dipa Karmakar, who came into the limelight after her historic performance at Rio Olympics 2016 was handed a 21-month ban for failing a dope test. Speaking about the ban, the ace gymnast said that she accepted provisional suspension after returning positive for a banned drug to swiftly resolve her case with the international federation.
Karmakar claimed that she "unknowingly ingested" the prohibited substance Higenamine S3 Beta-2 Agonists, which was found in her dope sample. Dipa's dope test was found positive for the banned substance Higenamine on 11 October 2021 by ITA (International Testing Agency), an independent organisation that manages the anti-doping programme of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG). Her ban will be applicable for 21 months i.e. till July 2023 from the date of being found positive.
"I unknowingly ingested and could not determine the source of (the banned substance). I decided to take a provisional suspension with the hope of a swift resolution with the international federation," Karmakar wrote on her Twitter handle.
According to US Anti-Doping Agency, Higenamine is found in several herbs used for traditional medicine and is used in supplements without sometimes naming it. It was added to the WADA prohibited list in 2017. It is worth noting that the drug is prohibited at all times, both in and out of competition.
Karmakar said mentally her doping case has been the "toughest" battle she has fought in her life.
"I didn't even know how it (the banned drug) entered my body and that for any sports person...it would have broken anybody. So it is not only hurtful but also the toughest mental battle that I have ever fought," the gymnast from Tripura told PTI.
"I had two surgeries in 2017 and 2019 and when I returned to the field... I mean, I faced one setback after another. I just want to get back strongly on the field."
Karmakar said she is looking forward to returning to gymnastics in July this year.
"Today marks the end of one of the longest battles I have fought for myself and my career. My suspension has been reduced by three months and backdated by 2.5 months. Can't wait to get back on the floor.
"It has been distressful to not know how the substances entered the body, however, more so to be in a position where my ethics have been questioned.
"Never in my career has the thought of consuming a banned substance crossed my mind. Gymnastics is all I have and I would never do anything which would bring myself or my country into disrepute."