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No Khel Ratna, Arjuna awards for dope violators | More sports News – Times of India

September 24, 2021

NEW DELHI: The likes of boxer Amit Panghal and triple jumper Renjith Maheshwary, who have applied for the Khel Ratna and Arjuna awards, respectively, will have to wait a little longer before being considered for the national sports awards honours by the union government.
TOI has learned that the sports ministry has recalled its order – at least for this year – which had made dope-tainted athletes and coaches eligible for the sports awards, including the rechristened Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna, given they have completed their ban periods. This would mean that the original awards notification issued by the ministry will remain in force.
On May 19, the ministry had come up with a circular inviting nominations for the Khel Ratna and Arjuna, where it had clearly mentioned that the dope-tainted athletes will be considered for the national honours.
“Sportspersons who have been penalised for use of drugs/substances banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) based on a sample collected by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) or any other agency authorised by WADA and tested by National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL) or any other Wada accredited laboratory, shall be eligible to be considered for the award after completion of their sentence/penalty/suspension/ban period,” the notification had read.
Now, the ministry has come up with an amended awards selection procedure. The amendments came into effect on August 6, 2021 but the ministry uploaded the notification on its website a few days ago. “Sportspersons who have been penalized or against whom enquiry is pending/ ongoing for use of drugs/substances banned by the WADA based on a sample collected by the NADA or any other agency authorized by WADA and tested by NDTL or any other WADA accredited laboratory, will not be eligible for the Award.”
Till last year, the dope offenders were ineligible to apply for any national honours. The ministry’s June 2, 2020 circular had clearly mentioned this part. In the latest development, the ministry didn’t want to wade into any controversy questioning its intention, as the matter pertained to athletes with a doping past. The general refrain in the Shastri Bhawan’s corridors was that the issue needed to be handled practically and carefully, with more discussions among the concerned stakeholders required.

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