Star gymnast Dipa serving a 21-month ban for doping

India’s top gymnast Dipa Karmakar, has been serving a suspension for a 21-month period, effective until 10 July, 2023 after testing positive for higenamine, according to a statement from International Testing Agency (ITA).

Higenamine, a stimulant, is listed under Beta-2 Agonists, (of the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list). According to anti-doping literature of the US Anti

Doping Agency, higenamine acts as a general stimulant. It helps lungs to take in more oxygen, and is prohibited in and out of competition. Karmakar remained unavailable for comment.

The ITA while confirming the positive  result added: “The positive sample was collected on behalf of the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG) in the scope of an out-of-competition control on 11 October 2021.”

ITA added that the case was resolved under case resolution of article 10.8.2 of the FIG Anti-Doping Rules (FIG ADR, and equivalent provision in the World Anti-Doping Code). 10.8.2 says, “Where the Athlete or other Person admits an anti-doping rule violation after being confronted with the anti-doping rule violation by FIG and agrees to Consequences acceptable to FIG and WADA, at their sole discretion, then: (a) the Athlete or other Person may receive a reduction in the period of Ineligibility based on an assessment by FIG and WADA of the application of Articles 10.1 through 10.7 to the asserted anti-doping rule violation, the seriousness of the violation, the Athlete or other Person’s degree of Fault and how promptly the Athlete or other Person admitted the violation; and (b) the period of Ineligibility may start as early as the date of Sample collection or the date on which another anti-doping rule violation last occurred.”

“The decision by WADA and FIG to enter or not enter into a case resolution agreement, and the amount of the reduction to, and the starting date of, the period of Ineligibility are not matters for determination or review by a hearing body and are not subject to appeal under Article 13. If so requested by an Athlete or other

Person who seeks to enter into a case resolution agreement under this Article, FIG shall allow the Athlete or other Person to discuss the admission of the anti-doping rule violation with it subject to a Without Prejudice Agreement,” the rule adds. This rules out the chances of an appeal and points to admission after being confronted with the test results.

Karmakar first came to prominence at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, where her high-scoring Produnova vault earned her a bronze. She subsequently finished 4th at the Rio Olympics, and went on to win a World Cup medal thereafter. The Tripura gymnast had undergone a knee surgery and been in rehab for most part since 2018. She has not competed in the intervening period since the stated date of testing as per ITA.

When asked back in March 2022, FIG had refrained from commenting “regarding this matter.” President of the Indian gymnastics governing body, Sudhir Mittal told the Express that they had received no intimation regarding the suspension from FIG.

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