New Delhi: The six Indian women athletes, who were caught for steroid doping last year, lost their case in the Court of Arbitration for Sports in Lausanne, Switzerland as it upheld the IAAF's appeal to impose two-year ban on them.
A NADA panel had handed a lenient one-year ban on the six quartermilers, including Asian Games double gold medallist Ashwini Akkunji, on the ground that they did not know that the food supplement they have been provided by their coach contain prohibited substance.
But the International Athletics Federation (IAAF) filed an appeal to the CAS against the NADA panel decision, stating that the athletes should not be given any lenient treatment and they should be banned for two years provided under the rules.
The CAS on Tuesday decided the case in favour of the IAAF and the athletes will serve a two year ban.
"The IAAF's appeal has been upheld by CAS and the six Indian athletes have lost their case. The operative part is not known and it will come later," an Athletics Federation of India source said.
Besides Akkunji, the other five are 4X400m relay quartet members Sini Jose and Mandeep Kaur and three other quartermilers Priyanka Panwar, Juana Murmu and Tiana Mary Thomas. The period of their one-year ban by the NADA panel ended last month.
Ashwini will also be stripped of the gold she had won in the 400m race in the National Inter-State Championships held in Bangalore in June last year while Mandeep and Juana would be stripped of the silver and bronze they had won in the same event.
Tiana Mary will also have to part with the gold she had won as a member of Kerala's 4X400m gold-winning relay quartet.
"Furthermore, all competitive results obtained by Ms Mandeep Kaur from 25 May 2011, by Ms Jauna Murmu from 26 May 2011, by Ms Ashwini and Ms Panwar from 27 June 2011 and by Ms Thomas and Ms Jose from 12 June 2011 until the commencement of their previous period of ineligibility shall be disqualified, with all resulting consequences, in accordance with IAAF Rule 40.8," the CAS said.
The relay quartet of Akkunji, Mandeep, Sini and Manjeet Kaur won gold in the 2010 Commonwealth Games here and the Asian Games in China a month later. Akkunji became the toast of the country after she also won the 400m hurdles in the Asian Games also, only to be caught for doping later.
Manjeet ended her career after she allegedly refused to give samples to NADA officials in Patiala.
With the CAS ruling that the ban begins from the day of provisional suspension, Ashwini and Priyanka would serve ban till July 3 next year as they were provisionally suspended on July 4 last year.
Mandeep and Juana will be banned till June 23 next year while Sini and Mary Thomas will serve ban till June 30 next year.
The IAAF had filed an appeal last month before the CAS challenging the one-year ban imposed on the athletes by a NADA panel last year, stating that they should not be treated leniently but should be handed the maximum ban of two years.
The maximum ban for first-time violators stands at two years but a NADA panel, headed by retired district judge Dinesh Dayal, had handed a reduced penalty of one-year ban on ground that the athletes were not found guilty of intentionally taking the banned substances.
"We did not find any significant fault on the part of these athletes on how the banned substance entered their bodies and they will get reduced penalty under clause 10.5.2 NADA rule," Dayal had said at that time.
Dayal had ruled that the date of suspension will start immediately but any period under provisional suspension would be credited.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) appealed against the NADA Disciplinary Panel's decision, asking to increase the ban from one to two years.
The NADA Appeals' Panel not only upheld the disciplinary panel's decision to ban for just one year but also ruled that the ban period will start from the day of collection of samples. That was done to give the athletes a chance to qualify for the London Olympics.