Drug scandal rocks Indian sports

Published April 9, 2003

NEW DELHI (India), April 8: Indian sport has been rocked by a massive doping scandal as 13 medal winners were among 22 athletes who tested positive for banned substances during last year’s National Games in Hyderabad.

“We’re pressing the sports federations to take strict action,” said Indian Olympic Committee general secretary Randhir Singh, who revealed the scandal Tuesday.

A bronze-medal winning rower has been banned for life by the Rowing Federation of India following a positive test at the multidiscipline National Games, but Singh said combating drugs was proving to be tough battle.

“It’s a fight we can’t back away from,” said Singh, who is a member of the International Olympic Committee and is the Olympic Council of Asia’s secretary-general. “We’ve got to stop this menace. If not checked, things will get worse.”

Singh said five gold medalists, four silver medalists and four bronze medalists were among those athletes who’d tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs or masking agents.

“The IOA will force the national federations to take action, but various sports have different rules and the (penalties) could differ,” he said.

Singh said nine athletes had tested positive for the banned steroid nandrolone, the most prevalent drug in positive cases.

“Athletes have been asked to explain and given the option to get the second samples tested at an international laboratory since the lab in New Delhi isn’t accredited by the IOC,” he said.

“Some athletes have acknowledged their guilt, while one weightlifter’s both samples had tested positive.”—APP/AP

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