India women get 2-year ban for doping

A European-based sports arbitration court earlier this week imposed a two-year ban on six members of India’s 4×400 meters relay team who tested positive for steroids last year.

While the World Anti-Doping Agency holds athletes responsible for any steroids that end up in their bodies, the Indian panel, in its decision, argued for leniency on the grounds that the socio-economic conditions of the athletes are very different here and should be factored into the sentence handed down. The Indian panel said the women, who had relied for years on the Indian government for everything from food, medical care and athletics training, had taken the ginseng tablets at the direction of their coach.

When the government-procured ginseng ran out in 2011, the coach used his own money to buy supplements for the athletes in China that turned out to be contaminated, the Indian appeal board concluded.

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