Javelin thrower Shivpal Singh, a former Asian Championships silver medallist, had his four-year ban reduced to one year after the appeal panel of the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) accepted that the supplement he had consumed was contaminated.
“The supplement ‘prime testo booster’ was found to be containing methandienone by the National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL). The appellant disclosed the use of ‘prime testo booster’ in his doping control form. The appellant was consuming a supplement with a composition similar to ‘prime testo booster’ since a considerable period of time and never tested positive,” the appeal panel noted in its order.
The disciplinary panel of the National Anti-Doping Agency had in August banned Shivpal for four years after he tested positive for anabolic steroids, including methandienone.
The appeal panel headed by Abhinav Mukerji also directed NADA to take proactive steps and to collaborate in an active way with appropriate regulatory agencies to prosecute and curb the menace of fake and contaminated supplements.
“NADA is also directed to frame a policy and devise a mechanism to certify shops/establishments throughout the country as safe sources from where athletes can purchase supplements without fear of falling prey to unscrupulous elements,” the appeal panel order said.
Shivpal’s sample was collected after he returned from the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.
Shivpal won a silver medal at the 2019 Asian Championships in Doha with a throw of 86.23 metres, his personal best. However, at the Tokyo Olympics, he finished 27th overall with a below-par throw of 76.40 metres.
Tuesday’s order states that the supplement was given to Shivpal by his coach, who purchased it from ‘Herbal Power Pharmacy’.
“The supplement store was later found to be involved in the sale of contaminated supplements and an FIR dated 6/10/2021 has been registered against the said retailer for being engaged in the sale of contaminated supplements,” the order stated.
It also stated that ‘methandienone’, a prohibited substance, was found in the supplement but ‘it was not disclosed on the product label and not discovered through a basic internet search.’
“This is another case which shows that spurious supplements are being sold in India and top athletes are suffering because of this. Having said that, NADA panel has observed that NADA needs to do much more to crack down on the sale of spurious supplements,” Shivpal’s lawyer Vidushpat Singhania said.
The appeal panel, however, said that Shivpal should have been ‘extra cautious’ while taking nutritional supplements ‘in light of rampant contamination’.
“Perhaps the appellant, as a rule of prudence, would have been better off getting a supplement’s source tested from time to time.”