Doping scare dwarfs India gold strike
However, Indian officials have vigorously denied the claim.india Updated: Mar 23, 2006 16:21 IST
India's Anuja Jung captured her country's 13th Commonwealth Games shooting gold medal on Thursday but her joy was cut short as her team fought off allegations of doping against a weightlifter.
Jung, whose husband Samaresh has already won five Melbourne golds, clinched the 50m Rifle 3 Positions individual title to follow the silver she won with Anjali Bhagwat in the pairs competition.
But India's joy at their 17th gold overall was tempered by newspaper allegations that 85kg class weightlifter Tejinder Singh had failed a dope test.
Indian officials vigorously denied the claim with chef de mission HJ Dora saying he had not been informed of any drug scandal surrounding his athletes and none of India's medal winners had been told they had tested positive.
"I have not been informed of any scandal related to drug abuse by any Indian contestant so far," Dora said.
"Normally it takes 48 hours for results to be known. If any one tests positive, the athlete concerned is informed. None of our medal winning athletes has been notified on this count."
The Melbourne Age newspaper said that Singh, a late withdrawal from the 85kg competition Monday, was believed to have tested positive and another unnamed lifter could also be under a drugs cloud.
India's weightlifting team has been dogged by doping controversies in recent years with the national federation forced to serve a one-year ban after the Athens Olympics for persistent infringements.
On the eve of the Games, Shailaja Pujari, a Manchester Games gold medallist in 2002, tested positive for stanozol and axed from the team.
Anuja Jung at least gave India a brief moment of celebration when she beat South Africa's Esmari van Reenen and Malaysia's Nur Suryani to the 50m shooting title.
Anuja said she was not as consistent as her record-seeking husband, who has been nicknamed Goldfinger here as he sets his sights on a record seven golds at one Games.
"I have done my bit," said Anuja. "I had promised myself two medals in Melbourne. I have a gold and a silver. Not bad is it?"
Australia won two more shooting golds when Lalita Yauhleuskaya took the women's 10m Air Pistol and Bruce Scott won the men's Open Full Bore.
Marie Helene-Premont of Canada won gold in the women's mountain bike race ahead of Rosara Joseph of New Zealand and Kiara Bisaro of Canada.
Later Thursday, seven gold medals will be decided in athletics including the women's 400m hurdles where Australian golden girl Jana Pittman is a strong favourite.