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Sunita Rani tests positive again

Sunita Rani tested positive for banned substance for the second time - this urine sample was taken after she won bronze in the 5,000m - on Monday.

india Updated: Oct 15, 2002 01:30 IST
Siddharth Saxena
Siddharth Saxena

Sunita Rani tested positive for banned substance for the second time- this urine sample was taken after she won bronze in the 5,000m - on Monday. Dr Jawaharlal Jain, the Indian team doctor, confirmed it was nandrolone.

The second test has shown a 50 per cent concentration less than the first test. Dr Jain said that the Commission revealed that the second test contained nandrolone of the amount of 10 nanograms/mm in the sample. The permissible limit is 5 to 6 nanograms/mm.

Dr Jain asked the Commission to distinguish between natural and exogenous steroid production. It usually happens that during hard training, a certain amount of nandrolone is produced in the body. What is strange is that nandrolone, usually a muscle-building drug is mostly used by sprinters and throwers, and not by middle and long distance runners such as Sunita.

"We were told by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) Medical Commission that banned substance had been found again in her second urine sample taken after the 5,000m," said Jagdish Tytler, the Indian Chef de Mission.

"They wanted to confirm again, whether she had had any medicine of any kind, and whether she had tested positive in Delhi," said Tytler.

Sunita denied to the Commission of having taken any medication or having tested positive in Delhi, Tytler said. She appealed for a sample B test to be taken this time too, to which the Commission verbally agreed. The chemical analysis will be done on a different instrument called the IRMS in the IOC lab in Seoul on October 16.

Sunita publicly reiterated her stand later. "I don't know how this happened. I am again saying that I have never taken any banned substances. I have been training hard to make a comeback for the past two years, and I would never dream of doing such a thing.

"After a race, we are so tired. Someone gives us water or we could offer water to someone else. You never know these things, but I maintain that I have never taken any such substance knowingly," she replied to how she could have tested positive if she maintained that she had not taken anything.

When asked about the incident after her 1,500m win when she allegedly took a tablet given by Dr Jawaharlal Jain, while bending under a table, Sunita retorted by saying how did one know what that tablet it was.

"How do you know what the tablet was? How do you know what problem I may have had? I sat below the table as I had a problem? It is the Indians themselves who are spreading these rumours. It looks as if you are not happy to see us here and see us winning.

"It is just that my fate was bad. My time was bad, that after training so hard, I have to go through all this."

The OCA Medical Commission has still not notified anything to the Indian NOC in writing, implying that only the Indian NOC has been notified, but OCA has still not officially confirmed the test.

"We have received nothing in writing at all," said Tytler.

Like the last time, this too was a hearing committee. The athlete, her coach, team doctor and the Chef de Mission were summoned to their headquarters this morning, but Tytler insisted that he would appear only if asked in writing. An hour before the meeting, Tytler was given a letter that they are to appear before the Commission.

First Published: Oct 15, 2002 01:30 IST