Mudgal panel had found fault with Yuri's ways

Move to bring back tainted coach could cause problems

The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) may have done its best to get back the sacked coach Yuri Ogorodnik ahead of the 2016 Olympics, but if the report of Justice Mukul Mudgal committee on the 2011 doping episode is anything to go by, it will put the Ukrainian’s appointment in a fresh circle of doubts.

The Sports Ministry had raised eyebrows early when plans to get Ogorodnik back was mooted. At one point the ministry rejected the proposal but the AFI, with backing from the Sports Authority of India (SAI) convinced the ministry that the Ukrainian would be the best choice to train the women’s 4x400 relay team for the Olympics.

Ogorodnik’s previous stint, lasting 11 years, was terminated by the Ministry after a clutch of elite athletes had tested positive for steroids. The ministry had appointed a one-man committee in Justice Mudgal to look into the incidence of doping. In his report, Mudgal said the committee was handed over three documents found in Ogorodnik’s vacated room at the National Instiute of Sports (NIS), Patiala.

“The first was a document containing instructions for the consumption of food supplements and bearing the date 18.05-28.05 on the top. Point 3 of the said document has ‘Testosteron 5%’ written on it.  The second document contained a tabular chart, presumably a food supplement chart with the names of the supplements written on one side. It has the words '2002 Asian Busan' inscribed in the upper right corner. One of the food supplements mentioned on the left hand side is marked simply as 'White Tablet',” the report mentioned.

The third document listed the schedule for the consumption of Ginseng Kianpi, the supplement that was eventually explained as the contaminated substance that led to the ‘positive’ tests of six of the women 400M runners. They were subsequently banned for two years. It may be recalled that in 2004, the national athletics camp at Patiala was found to have ‘doping charts', prepared apparently by a foreign expert. The charts listed steroids, supplements and vitamins, including “white tablet”, possibly a steroid.

When confronted with the documents by Mudgal, Ogorodnik “denied that the first document was in his handwriting or that it was his. As to the second document he stated that he had no recollection of it but it may have been an old food supplement programme. The third document was recognised by him as the food supplement programme...”

Mudgal, however, found the Ukrainian at fault. “Without commenting on the culpability of the coach…(this matter has to be decided by the NADA disciplinary panels), it can be stated that the coach has been negligent; in purchasing the supplements i.e. Ginseng Kianpi in China as he did not verify whether the content in the supplements had banned substances; failed to verify the authenticity of the shop selling supplements; failed to consult with the SAI doctors and/or nutritionist/dietician and/or medical commission of the AFI before buying the supplements.”

Mudgal’s observations doubtlessly raise fingers on Ogorodnik’s recall as a coach for Olympic preparations.

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