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NEW DELHI: Madhya Pradesh all-rounder Anshula Rao has become the first woman cricketer in India to fail a drug test for banned performance-enhancing substance. It’s also the first time that a cricketer – man or woman, senior or junior – has failed a dope test after the Indian cricket board (BCCI) decided to come under the ambit of the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) in August last year.
Team India opener Prithvi Shaw was the last to have failed the dope test in June 2019 when BCCI hadn’t engaged NADA as its dope sample collector and the board’s anti-doping activities were instead carried out by the Sweden-based International Doping Tests & Management (IDTM). Other Indian cricketers who were previously banned for doping include Pradeep Sangwan and Yusuf Pathan.
Anshula, who is a senior squad member of Madhya Pradesh women’s team, tested positive for prohibited substance ’19-Norandrosterone’, a detectable metabolite of nandrolone, an anabolic-androgenic steroid (AAS). The right-hand bat who bowls medium pace has been provisionally suspended by NADA after her urine sample report from Qatar’s Doha laboratory showed traces of AAS in her body. The report arrived last month and NADA subsequently served the adverse analytical finding (AAF) notice of charge on the athlete, leading to her suspension. It’s been learnt that the cricketer waived off her rights to ‘B’ sample testing.
According to sources, Anshula was tested in Baroda on March 14 this year during an out-of-competition testing. However, it’s not clear whether she was tested at her home or during the training camp for MP women cricketers. The NADA’s Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel (ADDP) will now decide Anshula’s quantum of punishment for her first-time doping offence, which could range from two to four years.
NADA has been surprised by the presence of this anabolic steroid in the sample of a female athlete. 19-Norandrosterone is best known for increasing muscle strength and mass, and to speed up recovery. It’s commonly used by male athletes in the sporting world.
Anshula is a registered player with BCCI as part of its affiliated unit MPCA, and had last participated in BCCI’s women’s under-23 T20 tournament 2019-20. Earlier in June this year, five Indian cricketers KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravindra Jadeja and women cricketers, Smriti Mandhana and Deepti Sharma, had received a notice from the NADA for failing to disclose their whereabouts.