Shooter Ravi Kumar, boxer Sumit Sangwan fail drug tests

PUNE/NEW DELHI: Only seven months to go Tokyo Olympics , two notable Indian athletes, shooter Ravi Kumar and boxer Sumit Sangwan , have tested positive for banned substances.

It was a surprise because you rarely hear cases of drug violations in shooting and boxing , even more so if the athletes involved are winners of international medals.

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Ravi Kumar, 29, has represented India at all major international meets and won individual bronze medals at Guadalajara World Cup and Commonwealth Games last year. According to NADA sources, Ravi was tested during the Kumar Surendra Singh memorial meeting in Delhi in June this year. His sample found traces of propranolol , a beta blocker class medication.

Olympian Sumit Sangwan (91kg), a Tokyo hopeful, has returned positive for acetazolamide, a diuretic and a masking agent banned by WADA. Sangwan, 26, won the silver medal in the 2017 Asian championship and entered the quarterfinals of the world championship in 2016. His case came only a week after Neeraj (57 kg), the main boxer, tested positive for ligandrol.

The NADA anti-doping disciplinary panel heard Ravi's defense on November 28 and kept his order reserved. Sources said Ravi could face a suspension of up to two years. Propranolol is a medicine taken to treat blood pressure, especially after a heart attack. It is also used to prevent migraine headaches. The shooter said it was a case of negligence on his part.

I was in a situation where I couldn't think of anything. I came back from the Munich World Cup and had a migraine attack. My sister has a migraine, but it was the first time I had such a severe headache and I panicked. My parents took me to a doctor at home and I also told him that I am a shooter. I took the medicine only after he assured me, Ravi told TOI.

Sangwan, current national champion at 91 kg, received a notice of adverse analytical finding (AAF) from NADA on Monday night. It is not clear whether the boxer has opted for the 'B' sample test or has renounced his right and, instead, has opted to appeal to the NADA anti-doping disciplinary panel (ADDP).

Acetazolamide is listed as a diuretic and masking agent under S5 of WADA's 2019 prohibited list which is a specified substance. A specified substance doesn't call for an automatic suspension, but the athletes have generally been advised to opt for voluntary suspension to avoid lengthy ban period. In Sangwan's case, it couldn't be ascertained whether he has himself opted for the suspension or has been provisionally suspended by the NADA.

Sangwan, who represented India at the 2012 London Olympics and was declared the best boxer (81 kg) in the 2015-16 elite men's nationals, was tested in competition on October 10 during the senior national championships in Baddi, Himachal Pradesh

It was learned that Sangwan was suffering from an eye injury and had taken medication on the advice of a private doctor. One of the medications contained acetazolamide, which is used to treat high blood pressure inside the eye due to certain types of glaucoma. However, as required in a specific substance, he did not present the Certificate of Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) with his drug control form, which led to his suspension.

His chances of appearing in the next selection test for the Tokyo Olympic qualifiers to be held in Wuhan, China, in February are as good as those that have already passed.

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