Double Commonwealth Games champion Sanjita Chanu has been provisionally suspended after traces of drostanolone were found in a urine sample taken during India's National Championships ©Getty Images

A double Commonwealth Games weightlifting champion has been charged with a doping violation two and a half years after being cleared of an earlier offence which, she said, had made her feel "suicidal".

Sanjita Chanu, 29, has been provisionally suspended after the National Anti-Doping Agency of India found traces of the anabolic-androgenic steroid drostanolone in a urine sample taken at India’s National Championships in late September.

She asked for her B sample to be analysed after hearing of the positive about a month ago and that has also come up positive.

Chanu pleaded her innocence and demanded an apology from the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) in June 2020, when she said she would seek substantial damages for losing her chance of qualifying for the Olympic Games.

"I was in a very bad place psychologically… I wanted to commit suicide," Chanu had said after insidethegames revealed that she had been cleared of any offence 933 days after testing positive, also for steroids, at a training camp in Las Vegas.

There were "non-conformities" in dealing with her sample, taken before the 2017 IWF World Championships by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and analysed in Salt Lake City, the World Anti-Doping Agency said.

It advised the IWF, which unlike now was responsible for its anti-doping procedures, to drop the charge against Chanu.

Chanu, 29, controversially won one of her two Commonwealth Games gold medals in April 2018 when she should have been suspended, but she was unaware of her doping positive from five months earlier and the Indian Federation said it had not been informed either.

Chanu's first win at the Commonwealth Games came at Glasgow in 2014 ©Getty Images
Chanu's first win at the Commonwealth Games came at Glasgow in 2014 ©Getty Images

Dika Toua, the Papua New Guinea lifter who is trying to qualify for the Olympic Games for a record sixth time, finished second in the 53 kilograms contest and believes she should have been promoted to first place.

When Chanu won at the Commonwealth Games for the first time at Glasgow 2014, at 48kg, she finished ahead of Mirabai Chanu, no relation, who has since won a world title, two Commonwealth Games golds and finished second at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Chanu, who faces a four-year ban, pleaded her innocence before and has done so again.

She did not reply to a request for comment from insidethegames but has given a lengthy statement to the Indian media.

"I have been in this situation before, but I am not able to understand how this has happened," she told The Hindu.

"I don’t know how this substance has entered my urine. 

Sanjita Chanu, pictured on top of the podium at Glasgow 2014, previously tested positive in 2017 ©Getty Images
Sanjita Chanu, pictured on top of the podium at Glasgow 2014, previously tested positive in 2017 ©Getty Images

"I don’t know if someone has put this in on purpose or what has happened, I can’t understand.

"I thought to file a case that someone has mixed something in my food but I don’t know who will do such a thing.

"I don’t know if I want to appeal or not. The B sample has also tested positive, so how will I prove my innocence?"

Sahdev Yadav, the Indian Weightlifting Federation President, said: "I am very sad that such a senior lifter, one who has won us two Commonwealth Games medals, has been caught in the dope net.

"Incidents like this only tarnish the image of our sport. 

"Everyone knows that we have a strict policy towards dope cheats but we do get setbacks like this."

Three other non-international lifters are also provisionally suspended.