'Ready to play for each day that I could not', says defender Ashutosh Mehta on returning from doping ban

New Delhi, July 3 (IANS) Indian defender Ashutosh Mehta has officially completed his two-year suspension after being found guilty of consuming Morphine, a prohibited substance by the National Anti Doping Agency (NADA).
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New Delhi, July 3 (IANS) Indian defender Ashutosh Mehta has officially completed his two-year suspension after being found guilty of consuming Morphine, a prohibited substance by the National Anti Doping Agency (NADA).

Ashutosh completed his two-year ban on June 24 and is now highly motivated and 'ready to play for each day that he could not'.

"I am aiming to make a competitive return to the sport that I love and I have not stopped training for a single day. I have never taken anything intentionally that would have enhanced my performance and this was just an unfortunate turn of events. June 24 was the last day of my suspension imposed and I shall be aiming to make a strong comeback.”

"Thanking everyone who stood by through this difficult time, genuinely thank you. To everyone watching this video I just want to say regardless of whatever is happening in your life, however you feel, keep working... I am ready to play for each day that I could not,” said Ashutosh in a video he posted on X.

Mehta was playing for ATK Mohun Bagan (Now Mohun Bagan Super Giants) when he was tested positive in 2022. The defender at the time stated that he unknowingly consumed the substance after being given an ayurvedic medicine for pain relief by a teammate.

The NADA panel went on to acknowledge the intake of the subtance was untintentional and had handed Mehta a provisional suspension.

Ahead of his competitive return, the former Mumbai City player also went on to clear the record one final time and restated the entire incident and how he was handed the suspension.

"I had consumed a prohibited substance unknowingly and the same was provided by a trustworthy source for pain relief. I was unaware of the contents of the same and believed the individual owing to the relationship we shared in a sporting capacity. Unfortunately, it turned out to contain Morphine and I was suspended from football owing to an anti-doping rule violation alleged against me.

"I fought the matter legally but luck was not on my side. I even took the matter to the court of arbitration for sports where A hearing was granted to me in July 2023. The decision to which has still not been provided," added the 33-year old defender.

--IANS

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