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Upul Tharanga in trouble without TUE'

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(Colombo Lankapuvath) There are indications Upul Tharanga's failure to produce a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) certificate, required for athletes before using substances like prednisolone which are banned under the WADA list, may land him in trouble.

The player faces a ban of up to two years since the International Cricket Council has confirmed that it will follow the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) regulations to the letter while investigating the issue. "As a matter of policy the ICC doesn't comment on on-going investigations. The ICC, though, is completely WADA complaint and we'll follow the procedure laid down by the world body," ICC spokesperson James Fitzgerald told TOI.

Tharanga, incidentally, was the only cricketer to fail a dope test during the World Cup.

Prednisolone is part of WADA's 'specified list' of banned drugs. A glucocorticosteroid, it is widely used for the treatment of inflammatory and auto-immune conditions such as asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, Bell's palsy and multiple scelorosis.

Athletes can use it after applying for a TUE from WADA, though the ICC has its own TUE commission comprising of six medical experts. The ICC also considers any TUE from a valid National Anti-Doping Agency. The ICC would have considered Tharanga's TUE if it was filed 30-days prior to the event, in this case the World Cup.

"A TUE is easily obtainable in India if an athlete has the required doctor's prescriptions with him. I am not quite aware of the Sri Lankan procedure but it is the athlete's folly for not seeking the TUE in time," NADA director general Rahul Bhatnagar said, adding: "Prednisolone is a drug on the specified list, which means it doesn't carry any preliminary ban.

An athlete can ask for their 'B' sample and if that too comes out positive he will be subject to a hearing according to WADA rules. If the player is found guilty after the hearing he can be banned up to a maximum of two years. A panel will take into account a player's argument before reaching a final decision."
(Times of India)

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