Asiad, CWG gold winner Ashwini joins dope-tainted stars (Roundup)July 4th, 2011 - 11:18 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, July 4 (IANS) Ashwini Akkunji, the star of India’s successful athletics campaign at the Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games who won three gold medals, is the latest to fail the dope test along with another fellow runner Priyanka Pawar, taking the total number of athletes returning positive to a shocking eight.
The startling disclosure came hours before the two were to accompany the Indian team from here for the Asian Championships at Kobe starting July 7. They were members of the 4×400m women’s relay squad.
Two more members of the famed relay team, Mandeep Kaur and Sini Jose, have already been caught in the anti-doping net and subsequently suspended.
“They (Ashwini and Priyanka) were part of the team for the Asian Championships in Kobe but after their failed dope tests, they have been provisionally suspended,” said Athletics Federation of India (AFI) president M.L. Dogra.
“They will be called for ‘B’ sample tests and then the necessary procedure will be followed,” Dogra said.
“We cannot send any replacement of the two athletes now but we will field a relay team in Japan. Two other athletes (besides Tintu Luka and Mrudula Korada) from the team will run in the relay,” he said.
Ashwini won the 400m hurdles in the Asian Games and was also member of the victorious 4×400m relay team in the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games last year.
The tests on Ashwini and Priyanka were conducted by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) in Patiala June 27.
“It was an out of competition test. They (Ashwini and Priyanka) have tested positive for methandienone,” an official told IANS.
Other athletes have also tested postive for the same steroid.
Mandeep Kaur and Juana Murmu, another quarter-miler, failed an out-of-competition test by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Wednesday. Mandeep tested positive for methandienone and stanozolol while Juana for methandienone.
A day later, Sini, fellow 400m runner Tiana Mary Thomas, shot-putter Sonia and men’s long jumper Hari Krishnan Muralidharan all tested positive in NADA tests.
Acting president of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) Vijay Kumar Malhotra said the Sports Authority of India and the Athletics Federation of India will have to answer some tough questions.
“Now we should ask why SAI and AFI spent a huge amount to train the athletes in Ukraine. Is this the tip of a systematic doping scandal. That’s why I have asked a judicial inquiry into the doping scandal. We have to find out the role of SAI officials. What were they doing? Why is a particular substance found in all the athletes,” he told IANS.
Ukraine’s Yuri Ogorobonik, the coach of the the 4×400m relay team, has drawn flak from several quarters since the positive tests surfaced one after another.
Former greats P.T.Usha and Gurbachan Singh Randhawa have also questioned Indian runners being sent to East European countries like Ukraine for training.
Usha and Randhawa also said that the role of coaches, support staff and officials should be thoroughly probed to get to the crux of the whole doping scandal.
“These cases raise serious questions on the credibility of Ukraine as the training centre for Indian athletes. Eastern European countries have been in the news for all the wrong reasons since late 1980s. But we have failed to learn from our mistakes,” Usha told IANS.
Asked whether SAI and Athletics Federation of India officials were also equally to be blamed, Usha said: “Obviously. If it was a case of one or two athletes failing the test, I wouldn’t have been surprised. But now eight athletes have tested positive and seven for the same substance.”
Veteran Randhawa said the athletes should not be allowed to get away with light punishment.
“The coaches should be penalised if they offer any ill advice to the athletes,” Randhawa, who came fifth in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics in 110 metres hurdles, told IANS.
“Every athletes knows what substance they are taking. They are lying if they say they are innocent after testing positive for a banned drug. If they know how to prepare for a race, the tactics attached to it, then they also know what they are taking for enhancing their performance,” said the 1962 Asian Games gold medallist.
- Asiad, CWG gold winner Ashwini, Priyanka also fail dope test (Lead) - Jul 04, 2011
- Five fresh doping cases in athletics, IOA orders probe (Lead) - Jun 30, 2011
- Athletics body transfers Mandeep, Juana dope cases to NADA - Jul 20, 2011
- Three athletes' B samples also test positive - Jul 08, 2011
- IOA demands judicial inquiry in doping scandal - Jul 01, 2011
- Five athletes flunk dope tests - Jun 30, 2011
- Mandeep blames federation for not providing team doctor - Jul 01, 2011
- Three athletes fail dope test - Oct 11, 2011
- Six women quarter-milers get 12-month ban, but London hopes alive - Dec 23, 2011
- Anti-doping agency collects 91 samples at Bangalore camp - Jul 12, 2011
- Mandeep, Juana ask for food supplements to be examined (Lead) - Jul 01, 2011
- Doping scandal to haunt India for long - Jul 10, 2011
- Foreign athletics coach sacked, doping scandal to be probed - Jul 05, 2011
- Doping scandal: Ukrainian coach sacked, minister orders probe (Lead) - Jul 05, 2011
- I am innocent, says Ashwini Akkunji - Jul 07, 2011
Tags: 400m hurdles, ashwini, asian championships, asian games, commonwealth games, dope test, dope tests, fellow runner, gold medals, gold winner, mandeep kaur, nada, necessary procedure, patiala, priyanka, relay team, stanozolol, star of india, startling disclosure, world anti doping agency