The National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) has written to wrestler Vinesh Phogat over her failure to comply with the whereabouts requirements of the Anti-Doping Rules (ADR) and has given the double World Championships bronze medallist 14 days to respond.
Phogat is part of NADA’s Registered Testing Pool (RTP) which mandates her to make a whereabouts filing at the beginning of each quarter. This includes “providing certain specified information about your whereabouts each day in the forthcoming quarter, and are further required to be available for testing at those declared whereabouts, in accordance with the International Standard for Result Management (ISRM),” the letter, a copy of which is with HT, states.
As per her most recent whereabouts filing, Phogat had marked 10 pm on June 27 as the time and date for testing at her Sonepat residence, but the two Doping Control Officers (DCOs) sent to her place for the purpose were “unable to locate” her.
NADA has also asked Phogat to provide corroborating evidence if she claims she was at the specified location at the time of testing and comment on why the DCO was unable to find her.
The whereabouts failure is Phogat’s first in 12 months, which means it doesn’t count for an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV). For an offence to qualify as ADRV, there must be three whereabouts failures that include filing failures as well as missed tests within a 12-month period. An ADRV of such nature will invite a period of ineligibility for 12-24 months.
“Please consider the contents of this letter very carefully, and make sure we receive your full written response within l4 days of the receipt of this letter,” it said.
The letter, sent on Wednesday, also carries two supplementary pages of DCOs’ report that details their experience. The DCOs state they were stopped by the society’s security for 40 minutes and repeated calls and messages to Phogat and her husband Somvir Rathee went unanswered. The security eventually allowed DCOs to go to Phogat’s house “with one guard and one bouncer” but despite pressing the doorbell “3-4 times”, there was no response.
“All lights were switched off inside the house,” the DCOs note. “When NADA team tried to collect evidence of athlete’s absence, they were stopped by the security guards,” the report said. NADA team also shot a video of the entire exercise.
Phogat was unavailable for comments but people in the know claimed the wrestler is yet to respond to NADA. The letter was also copied to United World Wrestling, Wrestling Federation of India, and World Anti-Doping Agency.
The 28-year-old is currently in Budapest for a Ranking Series event that will mark her return to competitions after a hiatus of ten months. Phogat last competed at the World Championships in Serbia in September where she won a bronze.
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