Now, three swimmers fail dope test
With news that three swimmers have tested positive for a banned substance emerging on Sunday, the total number of Indian sportspersons who have flunked dope tests in the past week rose to 18. Indraneel Das reports. Rogues' galleryother Updated: Sep 06, 2010 03:38 IST
With news that three swimmers have tested positive for a banned substance emerging on Sunday, the total number of Indian sportspersons who have flunked dope tests in the past week rose to 18.
Of the three swimmers, two, Richa Mishra — an eight-time national champion — and Jyotsna Pansare were part of the country’s swim team for the Commonwealth Games.
Three days ago, six wrestlers and two athletes had failed dope tests while last Monday, a netball player and six boxers had tested positive. At least six of them were also medal hopes at the coming Games.
The swimmers tested positive for the same substance, methylhexanimine, that the wrestlers and athletes had done.
The substance, taken as drops in the nostrils and also used to relieve nasal congestion, stimulates the central nervous system and improves reflexes.
A component of geranium oil, methylhexanimine, is also popular at rave parties as a recreational drug.
"It's very unfortunate," said Virender Nanavati, Swimming Federation of India secretary general. “We have provisionally suspended them.”
“I have been tested so many times, and have always come out clean,” said Richa Mishra. “I don’t know how it happened.”
National Anti-Doping Agency director general, Rahul Bhatnagar, confirmed that the ban was imposed on Saturday evening after the agency received the list from the National Dope Testing Laboratory.
Contamination or just a façade?
Experts believe either the athletes are not aware of the substance or have been using contaminated food supplements.
The substance might have been given by experts who thought the National Dope Testing Laboratory would not detect it, as the drug had been added to the World Anti-Doping Prohibited list last year.
However, WADA has been investigating since 2006-07 after an Illinois chemist was found marketing a dietary supplement laced with an amphetamine-like substance. Whether such supplements are still in circulation needs to be investigated.
Ashok Ahuja, former head of the department, sports medicine, NIS Patiala, said, “The drug is usually taken with caffeine and as a dietary supplement to get the desired effect. Since the medicine is not found in India, it will be interesting to see where it has been brought from?”
Experts also felt that it might be possible that since the substance was added to the WADA’s list of prohibited substance in 2009, the dietary supplements laced with the drug made its way into the relatively ignorant Indian market after other advanced nations abandoned its use.
“It could be possible,” said a source.