At the Asian Athletics Championships in Bhubaneswar in 2017, some athletes were looking for drinking water inside the Kalinga Stadium. A reporter offered them water but the wary athletes refused since the bottle was not sealed. The fear that some prohibited substance may enter the body has made modern-day athletes professional and they are aware of everything regarding doping.
Prithvi Shaw, an international cricketer with a bright future, asked his father to get cough syrup which was obtained from a pharmacy over the counter. Shaw did not provide a prescription of the Mumbai cricket team doctor nor did he retain the bottle or packaging after use. The young cricketer, a Test centurion on debut, has been handed a retrospective eight-month ban starting from March 16 until the midnight of November 15.
“Shaw made a big mistake. He should have consulted the Mumbai team doctor, should have had the prescription. A professional cricketer playing for India and also IPL cannot act in such a manner. But if you say he was let off scot-free, then I am not buying that. We are very tough when it comes to anti-doping rule violations. He conceded he made a mistake, at the same time he took it inadvertently,” Dr Abhijit Salvi, anti-doping manager of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), told The Telegraph.
Asked why the BCCI is against coming under Nada (National Anti-doping Agency), Salvi said he is not in a position to comment. “That’s not my brief,” he said.
Nada comes under the Union youth affairs and sports ministry, which has been pressing the BCCI to come under Nada’s purview.
“It’s time the BCCI came under Nada. Had it been under Nada, Shaw could have been banned for two years. Terbutaline was found in his urine sample. He could not provide the prescription nor did he retain the bottle. Is this a
joke? Why should cricketers get special treatment? You follow the rules. You cannot have different rules for different people,” sports lawyer Parth Goswami said.
But not all agree. Another sports lawyer, Vidushpat Singhania, defended the BCCI in not going with Nada. “Do you have any idea how many cases are pending? Athletes are waiting for seven months for a hearing date. They are suspended without a hearing. They are playing with the lives of our athletes. Priyanka Panwar, Rahul Mann, Abhishek Mathew… The list is endless,” he said from New Delhi.
“At least, BCCI has given him (Shaw) an eight-month suspension. Can you imagine what would have happened if the case remained pending for more than a year?” he said.