In January of 2021, FINA ruled that Indian diver Wilson N. Singh would receive a 12 month suspension period in light of a doping violation committed in September of 2019. They also required that Singh forfeit any medals won during the period of September 29th of 2019 to November 5th of 2019.
The announcement of the sanction was not until April.
- See the full FINA decision here.
Given the lengthy investigation and trial, Singh has long-emerged from his suspension period, which was in place from November 5th, 2019 to November 4th, 2020. He has yet to compete in any national or international competitions since, however.
The FINA ruling forced Singh to forfeit the gold medal he won as part of India’s synchronized diving 10m platform duo at the AASF Asian Age Group Championships. The event hosted a multitude of aquatic sports, including water polo, swimming, diving, and artistic swimming. Across all of the aquatic sports offered, India won a total of 60 medals at the championship, including 17 gold medals.
Singh provided a urine sample during the 10th AASF Asian Age Group Championships in India, which served as a qualifying event for the then-2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. After the event, Singh’s sample was sent to a World Anti Doping Association (WADA) accredited lab in Qatar, where the sample was flagged for the presence of Terbutaline.
Terbutaline falls under the category of Beta-2 Agonists in WADA’s banned substance list. Terbutaline is legal in India and many other countries, as it is commonly used to treat asthma, bronchitis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In laboratory studies, Terbutaline has shown to increase the amount of time before exhaustion as well as enhance muscle output.
In March of 2020, Singh was notified by FINA of his doping violation. A month later, he defended his case to FINA, claiming that the presence of Terbutaline was due to a medication he purchased while in Benglaru, India for competition. According to Singh, he was prescribed medication to combat a cough, headache, and fever before heading to Benglaru, but found no relief from the prescription. Thus, Singh sought out an alternative medication to alleviate his symptoms after arriving at the meet.
Singh later provided documentation for the prescription in question, validating part of his defense. He insisted that he never intended to violate the rules, and was unaware that one of the active ingredients in the medication overlapped with the WADA Prohibited List. At the time that the sample was taken, Singh was a minor.
FINA offered Singh voluntary provisional suspension, which he accepted in May of 2020. In August, FINA requested a series of clarifications from Singh, including pictures of the medication he claimed to have used, the dosage he used, and the name of the “local medical store” where the medication was purchased.
The case was taken by the FINA Doping Panel in September of 2020, and Panel chairman Robert Fox later informed Singh of the charges against him. Singh was given a deadline of October 27th to supply his defense and request a hearing. He did not request a hearing, but instead asked the panel to consider his status of being a minor of a low-socioeconomic background.
The FINA Doping Panel ruled that Singh remained in violation of FINA’s anti-doping rule (FINA DC Rule 2.1 – presence of prohibited substance in an athlete’s sample).