Just a day after two gold medallists of the Asian and Commonwealth Games were banned, five more athletes returned positive for a banned substance on Thursday. All five have been provisionally suspended. One of them, Jauna Murmu, who was banned on Wednesday for failing a dope test conducted by the international athletics federation (IAAF), is facing a life ban.
Sini Jose, who like Mandeep Kaur (banned on Wednesday) was a part of the 4x400m relay that won gold at the Asian and the Commonwealth Games last year.
What about the coaches?
With the athletes showing traces of the same substance, experts see a pattern to this and feel that the athletes could not have done it on their own.
“It’s quite alarming that so many tested positive for the same salt,” said Dr Ashok Ahuja, former chief of Sports Medicine and Sciences department in Patiala. “If quarter-milers are testing positive, their coaches, including the foreign coaches, must be questioned. It’s not at all surprising. This was bound to happen.”
Out of the 59 samples collected by the National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) during the Inter -state meet held at Bangalore from June 11-14, four returned positive. “This is alarming,” said Rahul Bhatnagar, the director general of NADA. “Now, we’ll have to intensify our activities. We’ll make more frequent surprise visits to the camps to collect samples.”
Bhatnagar felt that now even the coaches must come under the scanner. “We should question them,” he said. “We will keep a close watch on the coaches as well.”
Most of the federations, except for the AFI, have acted against coaches whose wards have tested positive. The weightlifting federation is one of them which always suspends the coach along with the wards.
AFI director, ML Dogra, however, ruled out the association between coaches and athletes.
One lap runner Tiana Mary Thomas, shot putter Sonia and long jumper HK Muralidharan (his sample was collected in Pune as part of the out-of-competition test) also returned positive results for the same drug.