India's top sprinter Dutee Chand has been provisionally suspended after her 'A' sample returned positive for prohibited anabolic steroids during an out-of-competition testing.
The report of the adverse analytical finding says Dutee has tested positive for SARMS (Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators), a type of supplement that helps increase muscle mass and strength and is also known to help burn fat and improve stamina.
The urine sample of the athlete showed traces of 'andarine', 'ostarine' and 'ligandrol', which fall under the SARMS category and are banned under World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) rules.
In the letter issued to Dutee on January 3, 2023, the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) said, "I do hereby inform you that your sample A was tested at the NDTL (National Dope Testing Laboratory) in accordance with the procedure set out in WADA's (World Anti-Doping Agency) International Standard of Laboratories and was returned adverse analytical findings."
The sample was collected out-of-competition on December 5 last year at Bhubaneswar.
The 26-year-old, who won the 100m and 200m silver medals at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, can now opt for a 'B' sample test under WADA rules and if that also returns an adverse analytical finding (AAF), or she cannot establish that the anti-doping rule violation was not intentional, she could be banned for four years.
The letter states that Dutee has seven working days to appeal for a 'B' sample test, failing which NADA will deem that she has waived her right to have the second sample analysed.
Given that the notice was issued on January 3, Dutee's time to appeal for a 'B' sample test would have ended by now.
However, Dutee, when contacted on Wednesday, said she was unaware of the 'A' sample testing positive. "I do not know," she told PTI.
Dutee holds the 100m national record with a timing of 11.17 seconds, which she achieved at the Indian Grand Prix IV at Patiala in 2021. She is currently not a national camper and is not training with any Athletics Federation of India (AFI) coach in Hyderabad. She moved to Bhubaneswar to train on her own.
AFI president Adille Sumariwalla said he had no news about Dutee's positive test.
"I have not received any news on her testing positive. Ask NADA. They inform us about the tests via registered post, which takes a few days to arrive. Ask Dutee if she has got the letter (of adverse analytical findings)," said Sumariwalla.
Dutee had qualified for the women's 100m event at the 2016 Rio Olympics, 36 years after sprint legend and the current Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president PT Usha took part in the 1980 Moscow Olympics.
The Odisha athlete had a long battle with the International Amateur Athletic Federation (World Athletics) after being barred from competing in 2014 because of high levels of testosterone hormone, exceeding the standards laid down for female athletes.
The hormone, which is naturally produced in the body -- less in females, more in males -- is understood to give women significant competitive edge.
However in 2018, IAAF altered its hyperandrogenism rules, excluding the 100m and 200m events from the gamut of the rules.