In a stunning twist to the raging dope scandal, India's badminton ace Saina Nehwal said on Wednesday that many top athletes and weightlifters knowingly took banned substances.
Nehwal's comments are in stark contrast to sports minister Ajay Maken's argument on Tuesday that the eight tainted athletes were unknowingly given performance boosters.
According to Nehwal, the athletes were also unrepentant and disclosed it in a matter-of-fact way to anyone willing to lend them an ear.
"I know many athletes and weightlifters who themselves tell me that 'we take it'," Nehwal said. "It's sad that so many of the CWG and Asian Games medal winners tested positive, but I'm not totally surprised."
Nehwal felt the athletes can't feign ignorance, especially considering the simple procedure for finding out the list of banned medicines on the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA) website.
"It's really sad they don't know what they are taking. I'm sure everyone knows WADA rules. They're very simple to follow. They have a website which has a list of all the banned medicines and the ones that can be used," she said.
Nehwal, however, added that there are a few athletes who need to be guided.
"Many athletes and weightlifters are not very educated, and many come from a rural background, so they take whatever their coaches give them," she said.