Inderjeet cries foul play, alleges tampering of his samples

Inderjeet cries foul play, alleges tampering of his samples

Inderjeet cries foul play, alleges tampering of his samples

Close on the heels of Narsingh Yadav dope scandal, India’s lone shot-putter to have qualified for the Rio Olympic Games, Inderjeet Singh, has tested positive for a banned steroid.

 The 28-year-old, who became the first Indian athlete to qualify for the Games last year, cried foul and said his samples had been tampered with. He was intimated about the positive result by the National Anti-Doping Agency on Tuesday, thus causing a serious setback to his Olympic hopes. His ‘A’ sample from an out-of-competition dope test taken on June 22, has returned positive.

 “I cannot believe it when I first saw it. I have been regularly getting tested. Ever since I returned from the US (from a training trip), I have been tested six times by NADA. Twice I was tested at home, four times during the competition, whether it was in Hyderabad or Bangalore. To be told I have tested positive when I am so near to representing the country in the Olympics is heartbreaking for me,” Inderjeet told Deccan Herald.

“It is a conspiracy. My samples have been tampered with. I have always been vocal against the injustice done to the Indian athletes. I have always raised my voice against the system and this is what it led to.”

 Inderjeet has not got his ‘B’ sample tested at the moment. He has a week’s time to do so. If found guilty, he faces a ban of four years.

“Those who tampered with the ‘A’ sample, you think they wouldn’t have done the same with the second sample? I have prepared so hard for the Games and I had a strong chance of winning the medal. That disturbed many and they were scared that if I could win a medal, they would no longer able to function comfortably. It was the only way to suppress me.”

Inderjeet, despite his claims, would have had to raise his performance by several notches to land in the medal bracket. His best performance of 20.65 metres, achieved last May, would only place him 29th in this year’s lists while his season’s best of 19.85 ranks 73rd in the world lists.

Future at stake
“We athletes don’t know any legalities. We only know how to play. I sacrificed a lot to reach here. And when I was so close to my dream, this happened. My future is at stake and I would like to appeal to the prime minister that he steps in and help in stopping such a treatment to athletes. Or else India will only lag behind at Olympics,” said Inderjeet, his voice choking.

Inderjeet, who is the reigning Asian champion, does not train in the national camp but on his own along with a personal coach.  Therefore, it may become tough for him to establish the conspiracy theory.

Meanwhile, NADA Director-General Naveen Agarwal said they had a foolproof mechanism in place. “An athlete has tested positive. If he feels that there has been foul play, he is free to state that in front of a disciplinary panel. He will be given a fair chance. There is no chance of any tampering, we have a foolproof system in place. He can also come and get his ‘B’ sample tested within a week’s time,”Agarwal said.

“It is our job as NADA to test the athletes. All the Rio-bound athletes have been tested at least once. We do test a few sports more frequently like wrestling, athletics, weightlifting where the chances of athletes taking banned substances are stronger. If from the contingent of over 100 athletes, 2-3 have come positive, I do not find it surprising. We are awaiting the results of a few more tests,” he said. 

 Inderjeet is the second Rio-bound athlete to have been caught in the dope net after Narsingh. The wrestler’s final hearing will take place on Wednesday.
DH News Service