Grapplers flunk dope test
The doping incident is the biggest setback for the Indian wrestling team ahead of the Commonwealth Games. It's not only one of the most embarrassing moments for the wrestling fraternity; it is also one of the biggest setbacks to the country's medal hopes. Saurabh Duggal and Indraneel Das report.other Updated: Sep 02, 2010 23:58 IST
The doping incident is the biggest setback for the Indian wrestling team ahead of the Commonwealth Games. It's not only one of the most embarrassing moments for the wrestling fraternity; it is also one of the biggest setbacks to the country's medal hopes.
The team was expecting at least 18 out of 21 medals at the Games, but after this incident - where four top wrestlers have been dropped for testing positive for a stimulant - one is not sure if the hosts can win as many medals, especially in freestyle wrestling.
Three tainted freestyle wrestlers - Rajiv Tomar (120kg), Mossam Khatri (96) and Sumit Dahiya (74) --- were all medal hopes in their respective categories. So was the only female wrestler who returned positive, Gursharan Kaur (72kg). The 120kg category is the worst affected as even the second wrestler, Joginder, tested positive and the wrestling federation had no option but to choose Parveen who finished third in the trials.
Even the women's 74kg category looks a little weak now as Gursharan has been replaced by Anju Tomar, who does not have much experience in the international arena.
However, in the men's 74kg, Asian Championships gold-medallist Narsingh Yadav is a suitable replacement. In fact Sumit, who tested positive, surprised everybody be winning the trials beating Narsingh.
A big shock for the community
Kartar Singh, the Wrestling Federation of India secretary, was shocked to learn about the positive tests. "It's come as a shock," said Karatar. "We never expected such a thing would ever happen in wrestling. We have also cautioned our wrestlers. What else can we do apart for replacing the tainted grapplers? We will ask for 'B' sample tests. There is no international rule that will impose a ban on the federation either."
The National Anti-Doping Agency officials, who conducted the tests, were also stunned and dubbed the incident unfortunate. "We have followed all procedures and have checked whether Therapeutic Use Exemption was sought," said Rahul Bhatnagar, the director-general of the NADA. "We have offered to test the 'B' sample, if the wrestlers or the athletes want, in front of them tomorrow (Friday)."
Party Pill: The drug used by wrestlers
The substance used by the wrestlers — methylhexaneamine (stimulant) — is more a party drug than a prescribed one. According to former head of the department of sports medicine, NIS Patiala, Ashok Ahuja, this is not a prescription drug but is used as dietary supplement and is a compound of geranium oil. "It gives a kick like amphetamine," said Ahuja. "However, it is hazardous to health. It can lead to stroke also." It is a non-specified drug because it can be used for recreational purpose as well.