Rathore in dope controversy

The events are a clear attempt to defame me, says Athens Olympics silver medallist
Last Updated 15 May 2013, 18:36 IST

Olympic silver-medallist Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore on Wednesday found himself at the centre of controversy with his name being dragged into a “failed” dope test that was conducted before the Athens Games in 2004.

In the 2004 Asian Clay Shooting Championships in Bangkok, Rathore’s ‘A’ sample tested for a banned glucocorticosteroid prednisolone. Subsequently his ‘B’ sample too tested positive but the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) cleared him after the double-trap ace explained that the test could have been due to the use of an anti-allergent for a skin rash.

The International Olympic Committee was not informed of the test that happened just prior to the Olympic Games and had action been taken on Rathore, the shooter would have missed the Games where he won a historic silver medal for India. No action can be taken now on the issue since an eight-year statute of limitations is in place.

The surfacing of the issue after a gap of nine years has surprised Rathore, who felt it was the handiwork of the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) whose April 6 elections were declared “null and void” by the Delhi High Court last month. NRAI challenged the decision of the single judge who had allowed the plea of Rathore that the election was a “sham and be quashed” as he was denied an opportunity to contest.

“The events of today are a clear attempt to defame me to divert attention from Hon HC decision of nullifying NRAI elections. To rake up a non-issue from 9 years earlier is vendetta and a last ditch attempt to protect the stranglehold over the NRAI,” Rathore said in a statement.

“In 2004 the highest officials of the ISSF were absolutely convinced about my credibility and had cleared me. I am amazed at the resistance of a few NRAI officials to allow free and fair elections. These things won’t stop like-minded athletes from trying to clean up Indian sports,” the 43-year-old Armyman added.

Claiming that Rathore’s allegations were baseless, NRAI president Raninder Singh said that the body was “with” Rathore in 2004 and continues to “support” him even now.“This is baseless. All I can say is that we are always with the athletes. We were with him back in 2004 and we are with him now,” Raninder said. 

“What is the relevance of all this? It was the international body which has exonerated him then. How has the ISSF let him off, I can answer nothing about it. We have stringent anti-doping commitments.”

(Published 15 May 2013, 18:35 IST)

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