India's first NBA player suspended after failing dope test

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Dec 07, 2019, 10.20 PM(IST) Edited By: Abhilash Mahajan

Satnam Singh (File photo) Photograph:( Zee News Network )

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If found guilty of doping, a four-year ban on first-time offenders can be imposed on Satnam Singh Bhamara. 

Satnam Singh Bhamara, the first Indian player to be drafted in the National Basketball Association (NBA), was provisionally suspended on Saturday after failing doping tests conducted by the Indian anti-doping agency. 

Bhamara, who joined the Dallas Mavericks in 2015, failed an out-of-competition test conducted by National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) last month and was handed a temporary ban on November 19. The test was held during the preparatory camp in Bengaluru for the South Asian Games.  

The 23-year-old asserted that he is "clean" and denied the charge against him in a statement. 

"Mr. (Satnam Singh) Bhamara is disputing the said charge and has requested a hearing before the NADA Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel (ADDP) in order to put forth his case," the statement said.

"Mr. Bhamara would like to state that he was and remains a clean competitor and has always played basketball fairly."

The 7 feet 2 inches tall, earlier skipped the 13th South Asian Games which began on December 1, citing personal reasons. 

As per NADA's rules, Bhamara holds the right to request for the analysis of his 'B' sample, within seven working days of receiving the notice regarding Adverse Analytical Finding of his ‘A’ Sample. If Bhamara's 'B' sample also comes out positive, then a NADA panel will take a call on imposing punishment or not.

If found guilty of doping, a four-year ban on first-time offenders can be imposed on Bhamara. 

So far, it is not known whether Bhamara opted for the analysis of his 'B' sample or not.

Bhamara, created history in 2015 when he was picked by Dallas Mavericks in the NBA draft. He did not play any game in the NBA, but went on to play in the National Basketball League of Canada after signing a deal with St John's Edge in September 2018.

Bhamara has also represented in India in major tournaments like Asian Games, 2018 Commonwealth Games, and 2019 World Cup Qualifiers.

A Netflix documentary on Bhamara 'One in a Billion' was also made, which reflects his journey from a small village in Punjab to getting selected fur the Mavericks. 

(with inputs from agencies)