The National Anti-Doping Agency's (NADA) appeals panel on Friday set aside the four-year suspension handed to shot-putter Inderjeet Singh by the NADA disciplinary panel.
The Incheon Asian Games bronze medallist's provisional four-year suspension was upheld by NADA's Anti Doping Disciplinary Panel in July this year, the retrospective ineligibility period being counted from July 2016, when his urine samples tested positive twice for banned substances Androsterone and Eticholanalone.
On Friday, the three-member Anti Doping Appeals Panel (ADAP) declared that the integrity and identity of the samples collected by NADA had been compromised.
It is exactly what Inderjeet has been claiming since he was first provisionally suspended in July 2016.
"Today's ruling confirms the stand I took over the problem with collection and testing process. I have lost two and a half years of my career but I'm grateful to the NADA panel for hearing me out and deciding in my favour," Inderjeet said following the decision.
Inderjeet tested positive twice - on June 22, 2016 during an Out Of Competition test in Bhiwani and during an In Competition (IC) testing on June 29, 2016 at an inter-state meet in Hyderabad.
Pointing out procedural discrepancies, NADA was rapped for not following requisite norms in sample collection especially since it was done in installments. Further, the Doping Control Officer (DCO) reportedly stored the sample in the refrigerator at his residence, which threw open the possibility of tampering.
NADA also had gone ahead with the 'B' sample testing even before Anti Doping Disciplinary Panel offered its ruling over testing the sample in a different lab.
Theoretically, Inderjeet is now free to compete but he knows the battle may not be over just yet as the NADA could take up further appeals. Inderjeet though is willing to see it through to its end. "I have truth on my side. I'm willing to fight to the finish," he said.