Dope violators eligible for national sports honours if ban period served: Sports ministry

NEW DELHI: The sports ministry has made dope-tainted athletes and coaches eligible for the National Sports Awards provided they have completed their ban periods, a decision that will benefit the likes of boxer Amit Panghal, whose “inadvertent” violation in 2012 has denied him a shot at the honours.
In a circular issued for this year’s honours, which are expected to be announced in the next few days, the ministry said that athletes penalised for doping offences will be eligible at the end of their suspensions but any achievements during the period will not be considered for the awards.
“…(the athletes) shall be eligible to be considered for the award after completion of their sentence/penalty/suspension/ban period. The achievement during the said suspension/punishment would not be considered,” the ministry stated. “The sportsperson against whom enquiry is pending/ongoing will not be considered,” it added.
Till last year, dope offenders were ineligible for any national honours.
The Asian Games gold-winning Panghal, who is also India’s first and only silver-medallist at the world championships, has been nominated twice for the Arjuna award but has not been considered because of the dope violation, which took place when he underwent treatment for chicken pox in 2012.

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