Dutee Chand is provisionally suspended for testing positive for banned substances ©Getty Images

Indian sprinter Dutee Chand, best-known in her country for being its first openly gay athlete, has been given a provisional suspension for testing positive for anabolic agents andarine, enobosarm and ligandrol. 

Chand was previously embroiled in controversy, being forced to miss the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games after being dropped from the team by the Athletics Federation of India (AFI), due to her hyperandrogenism caused by being an intersex athlete.

She was subject to sex testing, a practice that South African runner Caster Semenya was a part of too, which has been criticised for being invasive for women.

The 26-year-old women's 100 metres national record holder failed an out-of-competition test on December 5, and has been suspended since January 3.

Andarine, enobosarm and ligandrol are classed as selective androgen receptor modulators on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list, which have similar properties to anabolic steroids, but with reduced androgenic properties.

They burn fat and build muscle mass and can lead to a four-year ban.

Chand won the silver medal in the women's 100m and 200m at the 2018 Asian Games behind Bahrain's Edidiong Odiong, but could miss the next two editions of the Games in Hangzhou this year and Aichi-Nagoya in 2026 if given a maximum ban.

She failed to make it past the heats of the women's 100m at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and could miss the Victoria 2026 Games if given a four-year ban.

Dutee Chand won two silver medals at the Asian Games ©Getty Images
Dutee Chand won two silver medals at the Asian Games ©Getty Images

In 2019, Chand said she was in a same-sex relationship, making her the first openly gay athlete in India, saying the Indian Supreme Court's decision to decriminalise gay sex in 2018 encouraged her to be open about her sexuality.

She faced backlash from her village and parts of her family as a result.

AFI President Adille Sumariwalla confirmed Chand had not been training with the national team at the time of the positive test.

"She was not in the national camp," said the AFI head. 

"What I read from media is that it was an out-of-competition test in Bhubaneswar. 

"AFI has been very strict and together with National Anti-Doping Agency, we are taking all possible steps to curb doping. 

"We have maintained that AFI has a zero-tolerance policy as far as doping is concerned."

Chand is not the first high-profile Indian athlete to test positive for a banned substance, with women's discus thrower Kamalpreet Kaur receiving a three-year ban for stanozolol, an anabolic steroid, in March 2022.

Kamalpreet Kaur is one of the most notable Indian athletes to test positive recently ©Getty Images
Kamalpreet Kaur is one of the most notable Indian athletes to test positive recently ©Getty Images

This came less than a year after she finished sixth in the women's discus final at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Javelin thrower Shivpal Singh, who represented India at Tokyo 2020 and took silver in the men's event at the 2019 Asian Athletics Championships, was given a four-year ban for metandieonone, late last year.

Four more athletes were handed bans in a batch released by the Athletics Integrity Unit earlier this month, including national women's cross country champion Varsha Devi.

Sprinter Dhanalakshmi Sekar and triple jumper Aishwarya Babu were ruled out of Birmingham 2022 due to positive tests right before the Games.

Sekar would have been part of the women's 4x100m relay team with Chand at the Games had she been able to compete.