Dhing Express Hima Das could face up to two-year ban following NADA suspension

Indian sprint star Hima Das has been temporarily barred from competition by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) due to three whereabout failures’ within a year, as per reports. The 23-year-old athlete from Assam was already out of the Asian Games 2023 squad in Hangzhou because of an earlier injury this year. An anonymous team official confirmed to PTI, “Yes, she has committed three whereabout failures in one year period and so she has been provisionally suspended by the NADA.” Hima could face a ban of up to two years, which might be lessened to a year, depending on the extent of her accountability.

Hima Das had previously clinched the silver medal in the 400m individual event at the Asian Games 2018 in Jakarta and was part of the women’s 4x400m and mixed 4x400m relay teams that won gold and silver respectively. Under the rules set by the World Athletics Anti-Doping (WADA), any athlete with three whereabouts failures – either because of incorrect filings or missed tests – within a year can be held accountable for violating anti-doping rules. Specifics on whether Hima’s failures were due to incorrect filings or missed tests remain unclear.

What are the conditions for the athletes listed under RTP?

For the athletes who have listed in the Registered Testing Pool (RTP), they must provide thorough details of their overnight address, places they commonly train or work, and usual time frames for these activities. They also need to specify a one-hour window for each day of a quarter year when they must be available for testing. Failure to adhere to these guidelines results in a whereabouts failure. Hima has been dealing with a lingering lower back issue and also suffered a hamstring injury in April. Her injuries have caused her to withdraw from key events like the Federation Cup in Ranchi in May and the National Inter-State Championship in June.

Who else has been suspended or warned for whereabouts failures by NADA?

Last month, another Indian athlete, race walker Bhawna Jat, had to exit the World Athletics Championships 2023 in Hungary due to three whereabouts failures, resulting in her provisional suspension by NADA. Prior to that, Seema Bisla, a wrestler and 2021 Asian Championships bronze medalist, received a one-year ban for “whereabouts failure” from the Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel (ADDP) of the NADA. In July, Vinesh Phogat, a multiple-time World Championships medalist and Asian Championships gold winner, was also notified by the NADA for her first whereabouts failure in 12 months.

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