• Amritpal suffered from flu-like symptoms prior to the camp for an international tournament in February 2020 and had consumed prescribed medication, including ‘Decoff’ cough syrup, which he declared to the NADA officials at the time of providing the sample
  • Banned substance ‘Terbutaline’ found in ‘A’ sample obtained in camp
  • ‘Terbutaline’ found in most cough syrups, including ‘Decoff’
  • Amritpal has voluntarily opted for a provisional suspension until the hearing before the NADA panel, where he is confident of clearing the matter and receiving a favourable hearing


Bengaluru/Amritsar: Indian basketball player, Amritpal Singh, has received a letter dated 13th May 2020 from the Director General of the National Anti Doping Agency (“NADA”) by way of e-mail with subject ‘Adverse Analytical Finding Notice of Charge with optional Provisional Suspension (specified substance) under the National Anti Doping Rules 2015’ (“Letter”).

Per the said Letter, the banned ‘beta-2 agonist’, ‘Terbutaline’ was found in his sample obtained by NADA officials prior to an international tournament earlier this year. This was a result of the presence of ‘Terbutaline’ in the cough syrup ‘Decoff’ that Amritpal had consumed in the week prior to arriving at the India camp to prepare for the tournament. He had been suffering from flu-like symptoms including a mild fever, cough and throat pain. He had consulted a doctor at the time and was prescribed the said cough syrup along with other medication to treat the aforementioned symptoms. Despite suffering from these conditions, he arrived on time for the camp.

When the NADA officials procured his sample, in the declaration form, Amritpal clearly declared that he had consumed ‘Decoff’ cough syrup and other medication over the previous seven days. At the time, he was unaware that the innocuous cough syrup contained this banned substance. Also, he was unaware that he was required to procure a ‘Therapeutic Use Exemption’ (“TUE”) as per the National Anti Doping Rules, 2015 in order to be cleared to consume this brand of cough syrup. Amritpal had limited knowledge on the matter and it was an inadvertent consumption on his part.

In his decade-long international career, he has always adhered to the highest of standards and has never been charged with any ADR violation (“ADRV”) till date. This is his first ADRV, which is completely unintentional. He regrets not procuring alternate medication or obtaining a TUE.

In his response to the Letter, Amritpal has acknowledged his oversight and has requested for a hearing at the earliest possible date to present the complete facts and explain his case. Since the hearing date may be delayed in light of the current pandemic situation, he has voluntarily opted for the provisional suspension. He has sought an expedited hearing before the NADA Disciplinary Panel and is confident of clearing up the matter. Further, he has not opted for the ‘B’ sample analysis as he is aware that the ‘B’ sample would also contained the banned substance due to the cough syrup consumption at the time.

While Amritpal waits to hear from NADA on the hearing date, he hopes that the basketball community and his fans continue to support him, as they have done throughout his career.

About Amritpal Singh

Amritpal Singh at the FIBA Asia Cup 2017. Image credits:

Centre Amritpal Singh is the bulwark that holds the Indian national men’s team together. A late entrant to the sport, the 6ft 11inch Amritpal comes from a family of farmers, and first traded a sickle for a basketball at the age of 18. It has been a meteoric rise since then. From graduating from the famed Ludhiana Basketball Academy, to helping his employers ONGC, Dehradun win in the 2014-15 Senior National Basketball Championship with an MVP calibre performance, to holding his own in many of India’s memorable Asian triumphs in the 2 years thereafter, Amritpal’s is the true Cinderalla story.  He created history in 2017 by becoming the first Indian to play a full season in the National Basketball League, Australia where he played the 2017-18 season with the Sydney Kings. He previously played professionally in Japan for the Tokyo Excellence franchise in 2015-16 and won the National Basketball Development League (NBDL) Championship that year. After his injury in the Commonwealth Games in 2018, Amritpal returned to full fitness to lead the Punjab team to the Senior National Championship in 2019, where he dominated and was adjudged the MVP of the tournament. He continues to be a main contributor to the Indian national team helping secure a historic win over Iraq in the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers earlier this year.

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