Weightlifter Pardeep Singh, who is a 2018 Commonwealth Games silver medallist and reigning national champion, has been handed a provisional four-year suspension after his blood sample tested positive for human Growth Hormone (hGH).
World Anti- Doping Agency (WADA) prohibits hGH in and out of competitions and is listed in the category of anabolic agents, as Pardeep Singh becomes the Indian athlete who has tested positive, according to National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) director general Navin Agarwal.
"This is the first instance of detecting this in a blood sample from the time NADA has started testing," Agarwal told Indian Express. "We had informed the concerned federation and the weightlifter in March just before the lockdown. Because of the B sample issue, whether they wanted to do it or not, we could not disclose it publicly immediately."
Agarwal said NADA had received a tip-off that some athletes were using hGH to enhance performance.
"The usage of this drug wasn’t there earlier. But we had received some reports stating that it is being used in India. So we were on the lookout for quite some time.The athlete has been handed a provisional suspension of four years right now," Agarwal added.
Pardeep's sample was collected in a surprise out-of-competition test during a camp at the National Institute of Sport in Patiala last December and was sent to a WADA-accredited laboratory in Doha,as the National Dope Test Laboratory in Delhi is currently still suspended.
Pardeep's test result was made public only on Tuesday after the optional B-sample testing, which was delayed due to the pandemic-induced lockdown, even though the weightlifter was informed about the failed test in March.