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Focus shifts to 'dope-tainted' coaches

The twin doping episode that has hit the Indian contingent at the Athens Olympics throws open the debate on foreign coaches hired by various federations in India.
PTI | By V Krishnaswamy (IANS), Athens
PUBLISHED ON AUG 20, 2004 04:58 PM IST

The twin doping episode that has hit the Indian contingent at the Athens Olympics throws open the debate on foreign coaches hired by various federations in India.

In recent years most coaches coming into India are from the former Soviet republics and that has raised the shackles of people back home. Of late even international bodies have been keeping a tab on them and their Indian wards.

For instance on Thursday at the press conference, the president of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), Tamas Ajan, threw open a Pandora's box when he said, "We have warned India in the past to avoid employing coaches from countries which have a history of producing dope-tainted athletes."

It is also pertinent to note that many members of the Indian athletics squad have also been training in Ukraine. Critics have been warning the athletic federation to be on guard and Indian athletes have tested positive many times before at home and abroad.

"We make sure our athletes do not use any banned substance, and they are tested when they go to international meet," says Lalit Bhanot, secretary of the Athletic Federation of India. "We find the doctors and coaches in these countries good and affordable. Also the conditions in Kiev were similar to those in Greece."

On Friday, the president of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), Suresh Kalmadi, while finalizing the Inquiry Committee, under the chairmanship of KP Singh Deo, to look into the doping scandal, warned that athletes could face life bans and even their coaches will not be spared.

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