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Banned Dipa Karmakar admits doping violation, eyes July return

Indian gymnastics star says she 'unknowingly ingested' prohibited substance Higenamine which was found in her dope sample
Dipa Karmakar during the women’s vault final at the Rio Olympic Games in August 2016.
Dipa Karmakar during the women’s vault final at the Rio Olympic Games in August 2016.
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Our Bureau & PTI   |   Calcutta/New Delhi   |   Published 05.02.23, 04:20 AM

Handed a 21-month ban for failing a dope test, Indian gymnastics star Dipa Karmakar on Saturday said she accepted provisional suspension after returning positive for a banned drug to swiftly resolve her case with the international federation.

Karmakar, however, stressed that she “unknowingly ingested” the prohibited substance Higenamine — S3 Beta-2 Agonists as per WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) prohibited list — which was found in her dope sample.


“...I unknowingly ingested and could not determine the source of (the banned substance). I decided to take a provisional suspension with the hope of a swift resolution with the international federation,” Karmakar wrote on her Twitter handle, indicating that she had admitted to the doping rule violation.

Karmakar said she is looking forward to returning to gymnastics in July this year.

Karmakar’s dope sample was collected out-of-competition by the International Testing Agency (ITA), an independent organisation that manages the anti-doping programme of the international gymnastics gederation (FIG), on October 11, 2021.

According to the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), Higenamine is found in several herbs used for traditional medicine and is used in supplements without sometimes naming it. It was added to the WADA prohibited list in 2017. The drug is prohibited at all times, both in and out of competition.

The 29-year-old Karmakar, who shot to fame after finishing fourth in the 2016 Rio Olympics in the vault event, has been struggling with injuries ever since she underwent a surgery to treat an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in 2017.

Her last FIG event was the 2019 World Cup in Baku.

Her ban period will, however, end on July 10 this year as it was counted from the day (October 11, 2021) the sample was collected. Her results have been disqualified from October 11, 2021, onwards.

Karmakar said mentally her doping case has been the “toughest” battle she has fought in her life.

“I didn’t even know how it (the banned drug) entered my body and that for any sports would have broken anybody. So it is not only hurtful but also the toughest mental battle that I have ever fought,” the Agartala-based gymnast said.

“I had two surgeries in 2017 and 2019 and when I returned to the field... I mean, I faced one setback after another. I just want to get back strongly on the field.”

According to the ITA, the case was resolved under a case resolution agreement pursuant to article 10.8.2 of the FIG Anti-Doping Rules, which is applicable when “the athlete or other person admits an anti-doping rule violation after being confronted with the anti-doping rule violation by FIG and agrees to Consequences acceptable to FIG and WADA, at their sole discretion”.

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