Madhya Pradesh allrounder Anshula Rao has been handed a four-year ban by the National Anti-Doping Agency for failing a dope test, backdated to July 2020. Rao thus becomes the first woman cricketer to have been punished for doping.
According to several reports, NADA’s Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel concluded that the U-23 cricketer took 19-Norandrosterone, a performance-enhancing steroid, “knowingly and intentionally".
Rao is a registered cricketer with the BCCI and has taken part in several domestic tournaments with her last such participation coming at the cricket board’s 2019-20 U-23 T20 event.
According to a report in The Times of India, she tested positive for the aforementioned steroid last year in March 14 in Baroda and subsequently, failed to prove that the banned substance entered her body unknowingly.
Rao reportedly had sought financial assistance to challenge the initial test results. As per ESPNcricinfo, the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association will be providing financial help to the cricketer to an extent during the ban.
Challenging the result, Rao had claimed that she was at the receiving end of injustice for being asked to bear “exorbitant and unreasonable costs" of Euro 2400 for the B Sample analysis.
According to TOI, the ADDP, headed by advocate Gaurang Kanth, did say that while it’s upto the individual athlete to ensure they don’t take any prohibited substance, it did criticise NADA for failing to provide any financial help to the cricketer for her B Sample analysis.
The panel concluded that “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."