International Weightlifting Federation lifted Sanjita Chanu's provisional ban
International Weightlifting Federation lifted Sanjita Chanu's provisional ban

New Delhi: The (IWF) International Weightlifting Federation has cancelled the provisional suspension on weightlifter K Sanjita Chanu for a failed dope test, a major reprieve for the two-time Commonwealth Games gold-medallist who has claimed innocence.

IWF's legal counsel Eva Nyirfa said in an e-mail sent to the national federation and Sanjita, "On the basis of the information at its disposal, the IWF has decided that the provisional suspension of the athlete (Khumukcham Sanjita) shall be lifted on 22 January 2019".

After the case was dragged on for almost a year and has been marred by an "administrative" goof-up in Sanjita's sample number, the IWF informed that a final decision on the matter is expected in the coming days. It said, "The IWF Hearing Panel will render its decision on the athlete's case in due course."

The 25-year-old Manipuri weightlifter, who had won gold in the women's 53kg category at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, had tested positive for anabolic steroid testosterone. Her urine sample was taken prior to the World Championships in the United States in November 2017, and she was put under provisional suspension since last year May 15. 

She had also won gold in the 48kg in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow 

A final decision of the IWF panel is yet to come but Sanjita said her assertion of innocence has been justified.

Sanjita told, "I have got a mail from the international federation and our national federation has also called me up this morning informing about the lifting of the (provisional) suspension. I am relieved and happy. I am innocent and I have never taken any banned substance in my career. I am vindicated now," 

"At the same time, I experienced mental trauma during these past 8-9 months due to the mistake of the international federation. I hope nothing like this happens to any athlete in future. An athlete's reputation is very precious," she further added.

Sanjita said the Indian Weightlifting Federation had asked her to join the national camp immediately if she wants.

She confirmed, "The federation official told me today to write if I want to join the national camp. I am doing that. I missed the Asian Games and World Championships in 2018. I want to compete in the World Championships this year and qualify for 2020 Olympics. For any athlete, Olympics is the ultimate.”

Sanjita's doping issue even reached the Prime Minister's Office that directed the Sports Ministry to look into the matter.

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