It was foreign coach Yuryi Orgodnik's insatiable greed that led to widespread doping among the country's top athletes. This is stated in the report of Justice (retd) Mukul Mudgal, the one-member panel which was set up to probe the doping scandal.
Six months ago eight top athletes,
including Asian Games 400m hurdles champion Ashwini Akkunji, had tested positive for banned substances.
The preliminary report of the panel, which was set up by the sports ministry, has placed the blame on the Ukrainian expert. “He (coach) procured cheap food supplements from China when he accompanied the Indian contingent for the Guangzhou Asian Games in 2010. The supplements were later sold to athletes at a higher price to make money,” it states.
So strong was the desire to make money that Orgodnik “ignored the basic facts that the supplements could be detrimental to general health or could contain banned substances”.
As the unholy saga unfolded at the National Institute of Sports, Patiala, the top officials were surprisingly unaware.
The report also talks about a “doping chart” --- found in Orgodnik's room (as HT had reported earlier), which mentions a Russian drug 'white tablet”.
The report, however, is silent on why no action was taken by SAI executive director, LS Ranawat, or chief national coach, Bahadur Singh. The report also states that “officials at Sports Authority of India and NIS willfully ignored the problem of lack of supplements”,
In a written statement to the panel, Orgodnik had said that he had procured supplements for athletes from the open market, hinting at his 'flourishing' business. During his deposition, the coach had said that he had given supplements to the players during the Commonwealth and Asian Games.
Justice Mudgal expressed surprise that Ranawat had washed his hand off the issue by saying that he was unaware of the athletes' off-field problems.
Though the panel hasn't suggested measures to curb doping in the country, it has come down hard on the Athletics Federation of India (AFI). Despite the shameful chapter, which wiped out the women's 4x400m relay squad, the AFI is yet to take concrete steps.
“The federation's role is negligible as far as the well being of athletes is concerned. The federation doesn't have proper ways and means of checking the menace of doping,” the report states.