Four more test positive

Anabolic steroids found in relay gold medallist Sinis sample

Sini Jose, who was part of the gold-winning 4x400M relay team at the Commonwealth Games as well as the Asian Games, tested positive for a steroid, exposing the dark side of Indian athletics.

Sini’s team-mate Mandeep Kaur had tested positive the other day, also for a steroid. Manjeet Kaur and A C Ashwini were the other members of the team that scorched the tracks at New Delhi and Guangzhou last year.

Sini, another 400M runner Tiana Mary Thomas, Indian Air Force long jumper Harikrishnan and Haryana shot-putter Sonia tested positive for anabolic steroids in their ‘A’ samples while Jauna Murmu, who along with Mandeep had failed a test conducted on behalf of the International Association of Athletics Federations, again tested postive in the NADA swoop.

The samples were taken by NADA during the June 11-14 National Inter-State Championships in Bangalore.

Jose, Jauna, Harikrishnan and Sonia tested positive for metabolites of methandienone while Thomas tested positve for stonozolol as well besides epimethandiol.

“All five of them have been provisionally suspended by NADA,” Athletics Federation of India Director M L Dogra said.

“The AFI is disappointed at the turn of events. We will look into how so many athletes have tested positive for anabolic steroids. One thing we will look into is whether this happened due to food supplements taken by athletes from outside national camps,” he said.

The failed tests have turned spotlight firmly on the role of foreign coaches, especially those from Ukraine, even though the AFI brushed aside such suggestions.

“There is no chance these steroids came from the food supplements being given at the national camps. The talk of foreign coaches being hand in glove are also not true,” Dogra said.

On Friday, Mandeep and Jauna, who finished fourth in the 400M hurdles in the Asian Games last year, tested positive for anabolic steroids, leading to their provisional suspension by the AFI. Dogra said that the hearings of Mandeep and Jauna before an AFI panel would start in 10 days.

Harikrishnan and Sonia are not part of the ongoing national camp while the other three are. Harikrishnan had represented Karnataka at the Inter-State meet, finishing tenth with an effort of 7.19 metres. However, he had a stunning 7.92 metre leap last year at the Asian Grand Prix meet in Bangalore. Sonia won a bronze with a 13.13-metre effort in shot put.

Meanwhile, NADA collected samples of Indian athletes training at the Bangalore SAI Centre ahead of their departure for the Asian Championships in Japan.

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