The doping menace at home threatened to get uglier with word that Nirmala Sheoran, one of India’s top women 400m runners for some years now, has tested positive for a banned substance.Worse, this has come in a sample that was retested in the WADA-accredited laboratory in Montreal after it showed up a dope negative in (NDTL) in the Capital.Mail Today has learnt that Nirmala’s and weightlifter Poonam Dalal’s samples were among the 25-odd samples across different sport in India that WADA had asked for retesting in Montreal. As a matter of routine, WADA asks for a handful of samples tested in a lab to be sent to another to ensure that the laboratories are diligent all the time and do not slip up.These dope positives, combined with any more emerging from the other samples, could mean that NDTL can come under WADA’s scanner. Even though it is not the first time that a sample which is declared dope negative in Delhi has come up as dope positive overseas, it is not immediately clear if the Montreal lab conducted more advanced testing than is possible in NDTL.The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) had asked for discus thrower Arjun’s sample to be tested in the Cologne lab after NDTL reported it dope negative.Only sketchy details of Nirmala’s case are available at the time of going to print; most sources in India being tight-lipped ahead of IAAF notifying the provisional suspension. But there is some information available in weightlifter Poonam Dalal’s case. Her sample was collected during trials for the World University Championship and tested positive for Stanozolol.advertisementThe Jagadri-based Poonam Dalal, who won 48kg class gold at the Commonwealth Youth Championship in Penang, Malaysia, in November 2013, won bronze in the last National Championship in Mangaluru – with a total of 159kg. She had won silver with total lifts of 153kg in the All-India inter-university championship in Chandigarh in December 2017.Quite interestingly, the Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWLF) had warned the All India University authorities about it deciding to send a team to the World University Championship in Poland because its lifters had not complied with filing their whereabouts details.The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) had asked the Indian unit about the whereabouts. The national body wrote back to the international federation that it had no control over these lifters as they were not in the national senior or junior camp.It was for this reason that the IWF did not allow the Indian team to compete in Poland.”We have nothing to do with Poonam Dalal testing positive. As far as the Indian federation is concerned, she is not part of any camp. From our side, we are extremely vigilant as far as our own athletes are concerned,” said Sahdev Yadav, IWLF Secretary-General.It remains to be seen whether this instance adds to the growing list of Indian weightlifters that have tested positive and affects the national team’s quota of four places in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. The suspense over Sanjita Chanu, who is under provisional suspension, continues and is hoping to be exonerated because the IWF may have erred in the documentation.