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Successful doping is not 'individual brilliance'

india Updated: Jul 05, 2011 23:49 IST
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Led by Mandeep Kaur, Sini Jose and Ashwini Akkunji - the famous triplet of the now infamous 4x400m relay team - eight of our top athletes are in the dope net. The blame for this goes to all those who are involved in the training of these athletes and who took credit for the victories of these athletes in the past.

They include coaches, foreign and Indian, and the support staff - who came in the guise of recovery experts, doctors, masseurs, physiotherapists and trainers.

Doping in sports is not new. To be successful in doping, athletes need an expert support staff. Successful doping is not 'individual brilliance'. A positive dope test is not an individual failing. It's a systemic failure.

Indian athletes, especially the 4x400m women's relay team has been consistently winning medals over the last two decades. Their winning habit happened with the arrival of coaches and support personnel from the erstwhile USSR, especially from Ukraine and Belarus.

They came masquerading as coaches, recovery experts, doctors and masseurs. In the early nineties, there was one Dr 'B', who followed the athletes everywhere with syringes loaded with Russian-made injections. He was the big 'B' of Indian doping. When objections were raised, he was deported.

Then came the so called 'recovery experts'. Their demand for supply of medicines was gleefully met by the authorities. These experts also smuggled in Russian-made medicines, which were sold to local chemists.

The chemist shops outside Patiala, Delhi and Bangalore, the main training centres, have been freely selling banned drugs to athletes right under the nose of the police authorities. The greed for enhancing performance did not stop with patronising local chemists.

These athletes were willing to be transported to unheralded notorious locations in Ukraine and Belarus to undergo questionable training.

It is not surprising that athletes caught in doping now are blaming food supplements provided at Patiala. It is a fashion now. Mandeep has been found positive for three anabolic steroids and others have tested positive for more than one.

Since these athletes have revealed that they have purchased them from local chemists, it is a national concern and it is a fit case for a police enquiry. Some of the athletes have stated that the 'doping mishap happened because they didn't have the services of doctors to help them out.

Mandeep, Sini Jose, Akkunji and others are aware of doping menace. They have knowingly followed the methodology advocated by the coaches and recovery experts who were thrust upon them by the authorities, who run sports in the country.

Dr PSM Chandran is president, Indian Federation of Sports Medicine and former director (Sports Medicine), SAI.