Indian athletes banned for doping

Six female 400m runners have been handed bans after being found guilty of taking drugs that help build muscles.

     Ashwini Akkunji and Mandeep Kaur after winning gold in 4 x 400m Relay Final at 2010 Asian Games [GALLO/GETTY] 

    India's National Anti Doping Agency handed one-year bans to six female 400-meter runners who tested positive for doping this year.

    NADA's director-general Rahul Bhatnagar said on Friday that the bans will be effective retroactively from the time of their provisional suspensions in June and July. The decision can be appealed within 14 days.

    The athletes include three members of the relay quartet that helped India win gold at the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games in 2010 - Ashwini Akkunji, Mandeep Kaur and Sini Jose.

    The other three runners are Jauna Murmu, Tiana Mary and Priyanka Panwar. All six tested positive for drugs that help build muscle.

    Akkunji, Jose and Panwar tested positive for methandienone, Murmu and Mary for epimethandiol, and Kaur for the more common stanozolol.

    The runners faced a ban of up to two years for a first-time offence, but were given lighter sentences as NADA's disciplinary panel determined they had not intentionally taken the banned substances.

    All six were trained by Ukrainian coach Yuri Ogorodnik, who was fired in July following the positive tests.

    "We did not find any significant fault on the part of these athletes on how the banned substance entered their bodies,'' Dinesh Dayal, the head of the disciplinary panel, said.



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