Provisional suspension for Mandeep, Murmu

Provisional suspension for Mandeep, Murmu

Quarter-milers test positive for anabolic steroids

ML Dogra, director of the Athletics Federation of India (AFI), said the athletes were tested on May 25. Their ‘B’ sample, which was opened on Monday, also tested positive.

Mandeep, who was part of the 400M relay team that won the gold in the Commonwealth and the Asian Games, tested positive for stanozolol as well as epimethandiol while Murmu, who was fourth in the 400M at the Asian Games, failed a test for epimethandiol.

Mandeep was also part of the gold-winning Indian 4x400M team at the Doha Asian Games in 2006. Sini Jose, AC Ashwini and Manjeet Kaur were the other members of the Commonwealth and Asian Games 2010 team.

Both substances fall in the category of Anabolic Androgenic Steroids (AAS) in WADA's prohibited list. Stanozolol is one of the oldest anabolic agents which was made famous by Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson, who was caught at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games.

Epimethandiol, though not as well known, has been found in samples of weightlifters and wrestlers previously, with Mausam Khatri, the Greco-Roman wrestler, being a positive case from the past.

"The two athletes were on World Anti Doping Agency's (WADA) whereabouts list and the samples were collected at Patiala (by International Doping Tests and Management of Sweden). Their ‘B’ samples also tested positive and they have been suspended," Dogra said. A panel will now be constituted to hear their cases before the quontum of their punishment is decided upon.

A steroid violation normally results in a two-year suspension. The development is a huge setback for the country as both were expected to be named in the yet-to-be-announced Indian team for the Asian Athletics Championships to be held in Kobe, Japan from July 7. Dogra said they would either look for replacements or fill their places with athletes from other events. The Indian team is to leave for Kobe on July 4.

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