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Dope scandal hits Indian contingent yet again

Gold medal winner Sunita Rani's positive drug test overshadowed India's splendid performance in the athletics event on the concluding day of competitions at the 14th Asian Games here on Sunday.

india Updated: Oct 13, 2002 16:55 IST

Gold medal winner Sunita Rani's positive drug test overshadowed India's splendid performance in the athletics event on the concluding day of competitions at the 14th Asian Games here today and sullied the country's image for the second time in less than three months at a major international multi-disciplinary meet.

Even as the women's relay team covered itself with glory by winning the gold medal in the 4x400m, and two silver and one bronze medal followed, the shocking news of Sunita Rani's drug test threw a dampener on India's celebrations.

The 22-year-old Sunita Rani, winner of the 1500m gold with a new Games record and 5000m bronze, tested positive for nandrolone and would be stripped of her medals if her B-sample also tests positive.

Sunita Rani, whose B-sample would be tested on October 25, denied having taken any banned drug but said she was consuming 'Liv-52' for the last six to eight months.

Just three months earlier, India's best-ever showing at the Commonwealth Games was marred by the positive drug tests of weightlifters Krishnan Madasamy and Satheesha Rai who were subsequently stripped of their medals.

While Sunita fell from grace three days after having created a new Asian Games record, the women's 4x400 relay team of Jincy Philips, Manjeet Kaur, Soma Biswas and K Beenamol, brought glory for the country by clinching the gold medal with a timing of 3:30.84 sec.

Bobby Aloysius added one silver to India's kitty by finishing second in the women's high jump event.

Anil Kumar won the bronze in men's discus throw with an effort of 59.81m while the men's 4x400 relay team comprising P Ramachandran, Manoj Lal, Satbir Singh and Bhupendra Singh won the silver.

India's participation was today limited to athletics and taekwondo only. In taekwondo, both the Indian participants, Rani Bara Devi and Sanjeev Kumar, lost their first round bouts.

With four more medals in their kitty, India were placed seventh on the table with a tally of 36 - 11 gold, 12 silver and 13 bronze medals - while Asian powerhouses China were atop the table with a whopping 148 gold medals.

Anju Bobby George, who had won the gold medal in the women's long jump event on the opening day of the athletics competitions, was distinctly unlucky not to secure her second medal as she finished fourth in the triple jump event with a leap of 13.26m.

Although she was tied with Kazakhstan's Tatyana Bocharova at 13.26, the Kazakh was given the bronze medal because of a better second best attempt.

The Indian 4x100m relay teams disappointed with the men's team finishing fourth and the women's team taking the fifth position.

First Published: Oct 13, 2002 16:55 IST