India's sacked Ukrainian athletics coach Yuri Ogorodnik on Friday blamed food supplements after six of his trainees flunked dope tests.
"I cannot believe the girls tested positive for the same anabolic steroid. I have never given any anabolic steroid to any athlete. I am not to blame for it. The athletes have taken only food supplements and those could be contaminated,” Ogorodnik told TV channels.
"I did not play any role in the doping scandal. I have been set-up and this is an attempt to tarnish my reputation," he said.
Six quarter-milers - Sini Jose, Ashwini Akkunji, Mandeep Kaur, Juana Murmu, Tiana Mary Thomas and Priyanka Pawar - who were being coached by Ogorodnik have tested positive for methandienone.
Sini, Ashwini and Mandeep, were a part of the 4x400 metres relay team that won the gold at last year's Commonwealth and Asian Games. Ashwini also won the gold in the 400 metres hurdles at the Asian Games. The athletes had also blamed the food supplements recommended by Ogorodnik for failing their dope tests.
Ogorodnik said the athletes had to buy food supplements from outside as supplements provided by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) were not up to the mark.
“SAI protein and vitamin supplements are insufficient. So we bought those from a chemist in Patiala which might be contaminated,” said the Ukrainian coach.
"You didn't have for modern food supplements, we didn't even have doctors in the academy," he said.
The coach also reiterated that he fears for his life in India.