Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Athletes and doping

Indian athletes are in news for doping. Mandeep Kaur, Juana Murmu, Tiana Mary Thomas, Sini Jose, Ashwini Akkunji, Priyanka Panwar, Sonia and Hari Krishnan failed dope test at 11-14 June Inter-State Athletics Championships in Bangalore. There is blame game going on. No athlete has publicly admitted of knowingly taking anabolic steroids. Saina Nehwal has claimed that athletes and weightlifters had told her that they take drugs. Coaches and other officials are sacked or suspended. Indian Olympic Association blamed Sports Authority of India for the mess.

Doping takes place in many countries. It is said that athletes of USA, Russia and China are able to mask doping. They are ahead of WADA by three years. Marion Jones was not caught when she won Olympic medals. Another athlete revealed about her taking drugs seven years later.

Athletes knew they were taking drugs. Coaches and doctors knew the athletes were taking drugs. As long as the athletes were not caught there was no problem. Dr. Nandi who was with National Institute of Sports has claimed that doping has been going on for two and a half decades.

Mandeep Kaur tested positive for three different anabolic steroids – stanzolol, methandienone and epimenthadiol. PSM Chandran, former sports medicine director, SAI, said “I am surprised that players had been taking stanzolol and methandienone, because these steroids take a minimum of a couple of weeks to wash out of the body. There are new derivatives of testosterone that wash out within 12 hours. By taking stanzolol, it was only a matter of time before they tested positive.” In 1988 Seoul Olympics Ben Johnson was stripped of gold medal he won in 100m race in 9.79 seconds and banned for two years for taking stanzolol.

Mandeep Kaur has asked the Athletics Federation of India to test the food supplements they had taken during the training. She blamed them for failing dope test. She said “These food supplements are not those provided by government at NIS Patiala. We bought them from the market and our coaches knew, they accompanied us when we bought them.”

It is said that previously 257 athletes were found doping. Their names are not public. That time there was no checking by WADA at any time out of competition and it was easy to avoid detection. When athletes win medals the country is happy and athletes get cash awards. When athletes fail dope test they are generally on their own.

Updated: July 9, 2011 — 1:40 pm

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