Kerala footballer Viknesh gets two-year ban for doping

Kerala footballer M. Viknesh, who had failed a dope test taken during the National Games in Ahmedabad in October 2022, has been handed a two-year suspension starting from April 5, 2023.

The forward, who was dropped from the Kerala team for the Santosh Trophy’s final phase in February this year following the positive dope test for terbutaline, had appealed the decision of the Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel given on April 5, 2023.

Terbutaline is an ingredient in many cough syrups, but it is in the World Anti-Doping Agency’s prohibited list under specified substances. Vignesh’s team had argued that a since the player was suffering from fever and cough, a doctor had prescribed Ascoril syrup which contained terbutaline. The footballer had said that he was unaware of this fact and that was why he had not mentioned it in the doping control form.

But the Anti-Doping Appeal Panel (ADAP)was not convinced and its order, dated December 4, punished the player with a two-year ban. The National Anti-Doping Agency had earlier issued the notification to Viknesh about the positive test on November 12, 2022 but since the player was not provisionally suspended during the period of the disciplinary proceedings before NADA, the start of the ban had been pushed to April 5 this year. It is not very often that one hears of footballers being banned for doping in the country.

The ADAP also penalised Radhika Prakash Awati, a Maharashtra-born fencing international who represents Kerala, with a two-year ban. She had been banned for 15 months by the disciplinary panel earlier for a methylprednisolone (corticosteroid) violation.

Radhika had been tested during Senior National championship on March 26, 2023 in Pune, where she had won the gold medal. Her suspension is from August 17, 2023.

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