How serious are the dope control officials?

How serious are the dope control officials who have set up camp for the Afro-Asian Games at the Gachibowli Complex?
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Published on Oct 28, 2003 11:55 PM IST
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PTI | ByAjai Masand, Hyderabad

How serious are the dope control officials who have set up camp for the Games at the Gachibowli Complex here?

Ethiopian middle distance runner Kutre Ware Dulecha, who clinched silver in the 1,500m event with a timing of 4:18.14, went for a stroll after her event and was untraceable for about 10 minutes.

When she finally appeared out of nowhere near the anti-doping centre, the officials heaved a sigh of relief. Dulecha, who finished ahead of India’s Madhuri Singh, leisurely wore her track pant and upper and was out of the Gachibowli Stadium athletics complex gate, leaving the anti-doping officials scurrying after her.

“How can she do that,” shouted a lady dope-control official as an official came running after her, in  search of the elusive athlete. Finally, when she appeared, the officials were breathing easy.

A visibly embarrassed official, one Mr Das,  later explained that there is a marshal attached to every athlete and an athlete can never be out of sight of a dope-control official.

“We have trained technicians, police personnel and people from other walks of life to act as marshals. They remain attached to the athlete till the time they have not given their urine samples,” he explained.

When asked, how these marshals recognise a particular athlete, he said, “They remain at the sidelines of the track and escort the athletes to the designated area.”

Incidentally, there were a couple of police personnel manning the designated area -- a temporary tent. When reminded that there was no one accompanying the Ethiopian runner when she walked out, he said that was impossible.

But the moot question is, why did the anti-doping cell launch a frenetic search for the athlete, when they knew that a marshal was accompanying her?

The in-charge of the anti-doping cell, Ashok Ahuja was unavailable for comment and his mobile was picked up by Dr Caprihan. “Dr Ahuja is unavailable. Please talk to Yoshio Kuroda, the chairman of the anti-doping cell.” But even Kuroda was unavailable for comments.

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