Madhya Pradesh all-rounder Anshula Rao handed 4-year ban, becomes first woman cricketer to fail dope test

Madhya Pradesh all-rounder Anshula Rao created history, but for all the wrong reasons, as she became the first women cricketer to be handed a four-year ban after failing the dope test.

She was handed the ban by the panel of the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) on June 28. Rao, a registered cricketer with the BCCI as a part of its affiliation with MPCA, was last seen playing cricket in the under-23 T20 tournament hosted by BCCI.

This is not the first time for Rao, as earlier she was also found guilty of consuming a banned anabolic steroid ’19- Norandrosterone. 

She was found guilty of using the drug on March 14 at Baroda in 2020. She had failed to give a proper explanation of how the drug substance entered her body. Two samples were sent to a laboratory in Belgium which found traces of the banned drugs in Rao’s sample.

Defending herself in the court, Rao said that there was a four-month gap between the dope test and the charges slapped by the National Doping Agency. She also alleged that she was forced to bear exorbitant costs of Euro 2400 for the sample analysis, as reported by The Times of India.

The Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel (ADDP) had earlier stated that she had consumed the drug purposefully and knowingly. Now, the ADDP feels it is the responsibility of an athlete to look after their bodies. 

The panel, however, criticized NADA for not helping out Rao financially as the charge for her B Sample Analysis was way too exorbitant and said she “failed to adduce any evidence to explain how the prohibited substance entered into her body.”

While handing a four-year ban, the panel concluded that the presence of the prohibited substance is “established beyond doubt” and noted that “in the present case the athlete failed to explain how the prohibited substance entered in her body and hence she failed to take the reasonable care as expected from an athlete.”

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