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Kerala Kaumudi Online
Monday, 14 June 2021 9.02 AM IST

Wrestling federation to cop hefty fine for Olympic-qualified Sumit Malik failing dope test

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​​​NEW DELHI: Indian sports, which has often been shamed due to its athletes using banned substances, suffered another moment of ignominy as freestyle wrestler Sumit Malik (125kg category) lost his place in the Tokyo-bound Indian contingent due to a failed dope test. The sample was taken during the Olympic qualifiers held in Sofia, Bulgaria, in early May.

Ironically, Malik, from Karor village in Haryana’s Rohtak district, had won his quota place for the Olympics at the Sofia event. It was a huge boost for Indian wrestling as several celebrated wrestlers had failed to qualify for the Tokyo Games.

The banned performance-enhancing substance found in his urine sample was 5-methylhexan-2-amine (1,4-dimethylpentylamine) — better known as methylhexanamine — which falls in the category of a “specified” substance.

Sumit Malik’s sample was collected by the United World Wrestling (UWW), the sport’s global governing body, which subsequently exercised its right to provisionally suspend Sumit for six months till December 2021.

This means Sumit won’t be able to compete at the Tokyo Games. It has also ruined India’s chances of fielding a wrestler in the freestyle 125kg category.

The country’s much-hyped wrestlers like Narsingh Yadav, Amit Dhankar, Sandeep Singh Mann and Jitendra failed to land India a quota place in the 74kg category. Sumit’s shocking dope failure has cost the country representation in his weight category.

There was more bad news for Sumit. For failing the dope test at an international UWW event, the world body is likely to impose a hefty fine of Rs 16 lakh on the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), which the WFI intends to recover from the Haryana wrestler. If Sumit is found guilty and doesn’t pay the fine, the WFI might ban him for life.

The federation has a policy of recovering the penalty from dope-tainted grapplers. For doping offence committed at international meets, the national federation is bound to pay Rs 16 lakh to the UWW. If found guilty, Sumit would also be required to return Rs 5 lakh to the Haryana sports department, which he was paid in advance last month to prepare for the Games.

The embarrassing development has brought back the ugly memories of the 2016 Rio Olympics, when just weeks before the Games, wrestler Narsingh, shot-putter Inderjeet Singh and sprinter Dharambir Singh had failed dope tests. In 2010, weeks prior to the Delhi CWG, as many as six wrestlers were found involved in doping.

In the latest incident, Sumit has been told by the lab authorities to get his ‘B’ sample tested latest by June 10. A failure to appear before the authorities would be construed as his acceptance of a positive dope result. Sumit can either waive his right for ‘B’ sampling or authorise an independent observer to be present before lab technicians when the kit containing the remaining part of his urine sample is opened.

As per procedure, an independent hearing by the UWW’s anti-doping disciplinary panel (ADDP) would be held to listen to the arguments from both the parties and decide the quantum of punishment, if any. Sumit faces a ban ranging between two and four years.

It’s highly unlikely that Sumit’s hearing would take place before the Tokyo Games, as the UWW has already provisionally suspending him for six months. Sumit’s legal team can call for an early hearing keeping his Olympics participation in mind. But that will depend on the UWW’s discretion.

There are two categories of substances – non-specified (anabolic steroids) and specified (stimulants). In the case of a non-specified substance, automatic suspension by the management authority kicks in. While in the case of a specified failure, the athlete is provided the opportunity to go for a “voluntary” suspension to avoid getting punished with a lengthy ban.

In Sumit’s case, some have argued that since the wrestler has failed the dope test for a stimulant, he should be allowed to continue participating in competitions, including the Tokyo Games, till a verdict in the case is out. In case he is found guilty during hearing at a later date, his medals (if any) can be forfeited.


But here lies the catch.

The UWW has probably exercised its right to provisionally suspend Sumit for six months based on World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) clause 6.2.2 governing ‘result management’.


“Whether or not to impose a provisional suspension is a matter for the results management authority to decide at its discretion, taking into account all the facts and evidence. A provisional suspension under this Article 6.2.2 may be imposed at any point during results management, including prior to the analysis of the B Sample,” the clause says.

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TAGS: SUMIT MALIK, OLYMPIC FEDERATION, DOPE TEST, HEFTY FINE, OLYMPIC QUALIFIED, WRESTLING FEDERATION
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