April 2 – Indian weightlifter Monika Devi has been included in the country's provisional squad for this year's Commonwealth Games and Asian Games despite missing a drugs test last December.
Devi was one of a number of athletes initially banned from taking part in the Indian National Championships in Nagpur last weekend by the Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWLF) after failing to show up for an out-of-competition dope test in December.
However, following an appeal to the Delhi High Court, the athletes were allowed to take part with Devi claiming that she failed to turn up due to a bereavement in her family.
The Delhi Court decision was made pending the result of a further drugs test which subsequently came back as negative.
"It was a matter of their career and so we allowed them to take part in the Nationals," said IWLF vice-president Sahdev Yadav.
"The Delhi High Court said Monika be allowed to take part in the Nationals after dope test clearance.
"But the result from the NADA (National Anti-Doping Agency) came midway into the Nationals but before that we have allowed her and all others to take part."
The 29-year-old went on to claim three gold medals at the Championships in Nagpur and secure a spot on the core probables list for Glasgow 2014 and the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon.
Devi, who won bronze at the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games, was pulled from the Beijing 2008 Olympics after allegedly failing a drugs test but was subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing claiming that she was set-up by IWLF officials.
Previous to that, the IWLF had been banned twice by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), in 2004 and 2006, after Indian athletes failed drugs tests.
That was before a further drugs scandal erupted in 2009 when six Indian weightlifters tested positive for banned substances at a training camp in Pune which led to the threat of a further ban for the IWLF and the banning of its athletes from the Games in Delhi.
Among the athletes to test positive was Manchester 2002 gold medallist Shailaja Pujar, who was subsequently banned for life as it was her second doping offence, while Melbourne 2006 silver medal winner Vicky Butta escaped a life suspension even though she had failed a doping test for the second time also.
She was banned for four years along with Harbhajan Singh, Rajesh Singh, Sunita Rani and A Vijayadevi.
The IWLF escaped a further suspension and Indian weightlifters were allowed to compete in Delhi, but the governing body was fined £310,000 ($500,000/€375,000), while the scandal also led to the mass resignation of its leadership.
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]
January 2010: Indian Weightlifting Federation told they must find money for $500,000 fine on their own
January 2010: Indian weightlifters escape doping ban from Commonwealth Games
November 2009: Indian Weightlifting Federation step down after doping scandals
November 2009: Angry Gill demands apology from weightlifters over doping scandal
October 2009: Indian weightlifters facing ban from New Delhi Commonwealth Games