The NADA Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel’s favourable ruling will see India’s starting centre Amritpal Singh all set to return to the senior national side.

The 29-year-old centre was found guilty of consuming a banned substance ‘terbutaline’, but was declared to be ineligible from playing for a period of one year only, with effect from 18-05-2020.

READ: Amritpal found guilty of consuming prohibited substance found in most cough syrups like ‘Decoff’

In other words, the Big Man will be eligible to get back on court in a week’s time.

The ruling couldn’t have come at a better time for the Indian men’s team that was unable to secure a direct qualification berth in the FIBA Asia Cup 2021. The ‘Young Cagers’ instead will be playing a Final Qualifying Tournament between 12-14 August in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Only four out of the six teams at the Final Qualifying Tournament will proceed to the FIBA Asia Cup 2021, and Amritpal’s return will be a shot in the arm for India’s chances of making its 25th appearance in Asia’s premier continental championship, and its tenth straight appearance since the 2001 edition.

NADA finds mitigating circumstances in Amritpal’s case

A copy of the decision by NADA’s Anti-Doping Disciplinary Patel, dated 15th April 2021, is in Ekalavyas’ possession. The Panel noted that a player of Amritpal’s experience should have been aware of all of NADA’s rules and procedures, especially those pertaining to voluntary disclosure via availing the ‘Therapeutic Use Exemption’ provision.

At the same time, it also accepted the possibility that Amritpal “could not have had specific knowledge regarding the presence of the prohibited substances in the aforementioned medicines that he was administering after duly consulting a doctor.”

Additionally, the Panel took into cognisance that Amritpal’s offence occurred ‘out of competition’ and therefore was unlikely to have been committed with the intent of being performance-enhancing. It favourably noted that Amritpal had disclosed the details of the medicines he was taking, including a cough syrup for minor ailments, on the Doping Control Form.

Finally, the court took into consideration the fact that Amritpal had never previously committed any such violation, and had even waived his right to get the B-Sample tested, which showed his acceptance of the error made on his part.

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Gopalakrishnan R
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