Commonwealth Games 2018 silver medallist Pardeep Singh has been handed a provisional suspension after his blood sample tested positive for human Growth Hormone (HGH). Weightlifter Pardeep's positive test is being described as the first case of doping with banned hGH although weightlifter Jasvir Kaur was banned for the same hormone in 2018.
HGH is prohibited both in and out-of-competition under section S2 of WADA's (World Anti-Doping Agency) list of prohibited substances and methods.
According to a report in Indian Express, the reigning national champion's sample was collected in a surprise out-of-competition test last December during a camp at the National Institute of Sport in Patiala. The sample was then tested at Doha's WADA-accredited laboratory due to the suspension of New Delhi's National Dope Test Laboratory.
The result of the A sample coming positive was relayed to Pardeep in March, however, it was made public only on Tuesday. The B sample test has not been done yet due to lockdown, The New Indian Express reported.
"This is the first instance of detecting this in a blood sample from the time NADA has started testing," National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) director general Navin Agarwal told Indian Express.
Agarwal also informed that they were on the lookout for offenders who use hGH for performance enhancement after receiving reports of its usage in India.
"The usage of this drug wasn't there earlier. But we had received some reports stating that it is being used in India. So we were on the lookout for quite some time. The athlete has been handed a provisional suspension of four years right now," Agarwal added.
Pardeep clinched the silver medal at Gold Coast in 2018 in the men's 105 kg category with a total lift of 352kg. In February this year, he won the 102kg national gold with a total lift of 346kg
According to WADA, hGH usage helps in reducing body fat, increasing muscle mass and strength.
Describing the effect of hGH, WADA says, "Some of the effects attributed to hGH, which may explain the attraction for its use as a doping agent, especially in power and endurance sports, include the reduction of body fat (lipolysis), the increase in muscle mass and strength (anabolic effect), as well as its tissue-repairing effects (recovery) on the musculo-skeletal system.
"The anabolic actions of GH are mostly mediated through IGF-I and include increases in total body protein turnover and muscle synthesis. hGH also appears to be used synergistically with other performance-enhancing drugs, thus having an effect, albeit indirect, on muscle anabolism and athletic performance."