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August 13, 2020

Use of drugs in South Asian Games: Three Pak athletes banned for four years

Sports

August 13, 2020

ISLAMABAD: National Olympic Committee in Nepal with the consent of World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA) has imposed a four-year ban on three Pakistani athletes tested positive for banned drugs besides stripping of medals they won in the 13th South Asian Games held in Nepal in December 2019.

Mehboob Ali (400m hurdles), Mohammad Naeem (110m hurdles) and Samiullah (100m sprint) were tested positive of anabolic androgenic steroids aimed at rapid improvement in performance.

The decision that was communicated to all the concerned including Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) and Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP) confirmed that all three have been stripped of their medals and are no longer eligible to pursue the career.

Mehboob and Naeem won gold medals in their respective categories while Samiullah finished with bronze in 100m sprint.

The test on Naeem was conducted on December 5, 2019 while Mehboob underwent test on December 6 in Kathmandu. The urine samples were then sent to WADA’s accredited anti-doping lab in Doha (Qatar). The A samples’ report received on January 16, 2020 confirmed use of ban substance and adverse analytical finding was reported.

Chairman Anti-Doping Committee of the 13th South Asian Games in Nepal Dr Saroj Krishna Shrestha in a letter addressed to athletes said that even the findings of B samples confirmed presence of prohibited substance that was there in A samples.

“You were informed about the B samples’ test results. You in a letter decided against contesting the results and going into appeal, the committee then had all the powers to decide the penalty.”

The letter available with the PSB says that according to the South Asia Olympic Council Anti-Doping Rules applicable to the 13th South Asian Game (based on the World Anti-Doping Code), the committee had all the powers to consider penalty and then imposed ban. The ineligibility of all three athletes is for four years from 6th December 2019 to 5th December 2023.

The AFP surprisingly was adamant to form its own committee to propose the ban, a step that was declared illegal by the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA).

The POA stopped AFP from constituting any committee, directing the matter was in the hands of the Nepal Olympic Committee. POA’s contention was that since the AFP had become a party and it had no authority to decide on athletes’ fate, it cannot further probe the matter.