An Indian Olympic discus thrower’s failed drug test is no anomaly

Power play.
Power play.
Image: Reuters/Aleksandra Szmigiel
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Indian discus throw champion Kamalpreet Kaur may have had a little help in breaking the 65-metre record she set in March, and more. But she’s only the latest in a long line of such offenders.

The 26-year-old has been provisionally suspended for testing positive for the drug stanozolol, the Athletics Integrity Unit said on Wednesday (May 4). The synthetic anabolic steroid was banned by the International Olympic Committee and World Athletics in 1974. Most notably, Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson was stripped of his 100-metre gold after testing positive at the 1988 Seoul Games.

For now, the sporting authority has issued a “notice of allegation” to Kaur, which bars her from participating in any competition until a final decision is taken at a hearing conducted under the World Athletics anti-doping rules. If proven to be at fault, she could be banned from the sport for up to four years.

India’s doping history

Doping scandals have rocked India in the past, too, and across sports—weightlifting, athletics, cricket. It isn’t new to discus throwing either.

In fact, India is the world’s third-biggest dope violator after Russia and Italy, according to a 2021 World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report. Most of the country’s offenders—57 of 152—came from bodybuilding.