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Gymnast Dipa Karmakar accepts backdated 21-month suspension for doping violation

Gymnast Dipa Karmakar accepts backdated 21-month suspension for doping violation
© Reuters
Indian gymnast Dipa Karmakar accepts a backdated 21-month suspension after testing positive for a banned substance out of competition in October 2021.

Dipa Karmakar - one of India's leading international gymnasts - has accepted a backdated 21-month suspension for a doping violation.

The 29-year-old - who won a bronze in the women's vault at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow - tested positive for banned substance higenamine in an out-of-competition test in October 2021.

Higenamine acts as a general stimulant by allowing the lungs to take in more oxygen, and the International Federation of Gymnastics has identified Karmakar as a banned athlete since February 2022.

Having admitted the violation, Karmakar's initial two-year ban from October 2021 was reduced to 21 months, and her suspension has taken effect from the date of her positive test.

As a result, the Olympian will be eligible to return to competition in July 2023, and she released a lengthy statement on social media expressing her relief at the end of one of her "longest battles".

Karmakar affirmed that she "unknowingly" ingested the substance and "could not determine the source", and she also denied reports that she failed to inform the World Anti-Doping Agency of her whereabouts during the process.

"Today marks the end of one of the longest battles I have fought for myself and my career," Karmakar wrote. "In October 2021, my sample was obtained for out-of-competition testing and sent for assessment.

"The result was positive for a banned substance which I unknowingly ingested and could not determine the source of. I decided to take a provisional suspension with the hope of a swift resolution with the internal federation.

"I am happy that the matter has been amicably resolved. My suspension has been reduced by three months and back dated by 2.5 months, allowing me to return to the sport I love in July 2023.

"Multiple media reports have speculated that I was under a two-year suspension for failing to inform WADA of my whereabouts through the Anti-Doping Administration Management System.

"However, I would like to clarify that these are false and inaccurate and do not reveal the true facts and nature of the matter.

"It has been distressful to not know how the substances entered my body. However, more so to be in a position where my ethics have been questioned. Never in my career has the thought of consuming a banned substance crossed my mind.

"Gymnastics is all I have, and I would never do anything which would bring myself or my country into disrepute. Cannot wait to get back on the floor!"

Karmakar became the first-ever female gymnast from India to compete at the Olympics in Rio 2016, finishing fourth in the women's vault final, and she won World Cup gold on the same apparatus in Mersin in 2018.

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