Two-time Commonwealth Games gold medal-winning weightlifter Sanjita Chanu will finally receive the prestigious Arjuna Award, which she was supposed to get in 2018.
The 26-year-old had won back-to-back gold medals in the 2014 and 2018 Commonwealth Games from the 53kg and 48kg categories respectively. She’d applied for the Arjuna Award recognition in 2016 and 2017, but it was ignored on both occasions.
A sports ministry source confirmed that Chanu will be conferred with the Arjuna award as per a 2018 Delhi High Court order, which instructed the selection committee to consider her and maintain the decision in a sealed cover to be disclosed only if she was cleared of the doping charges.
The ministry source told: “Sanjita (Chanu) is absolved of all the doping charges by the international federation, so we will have to abide by the Delhi High Court order and consider her for the Arjuna award,”
Previously, Chanu had filed a writ petition before the Delhi HC challenging the choice to exclude her from the list of those recommended for the 2017 Arjuna Awards. As the case was being heard, she tested positive for a banned substance in May 2018.
However, the High Court, in its arrangement in August that year, instructed the selection committee to consider her for the award and keep its own decision as a secret, waiting for the result of her appeal against dope charges.
The International Weightlifting Federation dropped the doping charge against Chanu because of non-conformities, in the handling of her sample last month. She was notified of the final verdict of the IWF via an email, signed by the world body’s legal counsel Lilla Sagi. She has always said that she didn’t take any banned substance.
Chanu now plans to seek compensation from the IWF for the trauma, she endured. The IWF cleared her based on a recommendation from the World Anti Doping Agency(WADA), following that the national federation wrote to the Ministry of Sports to adhere to the High Court order.
Indian Weightlifting Federation Secretary-General also confirmed that Sanjita will receive the 2018 Arjuna Award. He said: “It’s confirmed, Sanjita will get her 2018 Arjuna award.”
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