New Delhi: Adding more shame to the already swelled-up list of Indian athletes who tested positive for banned substances, Commonwealth and Asian Games gold medallist Ashwini Akkunji and Priyanka Panwar too flunked their dope test on Monday.
The athletes’ names have been dropped from the upcoming Asian Athletics Championship, taking the tally of dope offenders to a staggering eight.
The development is all the more shocking as Akkunji, who had won gold in Commonwealth and Asian Games last year, and Panwar were to leave for Japan for July 7-11 Asian Championships by an 11:30 pm flight from here along with 35 other athletes.
Athletics Federation of India has provisionally suspended both the athletes pending a hearing by a NADA disciplinary panel.
"It is sad to announce that two more athletes – Ashwini Akkunji and Priyanka Panwar -- tested positive for anabolic steroids. We have provisionally suspended them. Next, they will be called for `B` sample tests and then the necessary procedure will be followed," Dogra told reporters.
Akkunji and Panwar were named in the 4x400m relay team for the Asian Championships and Dogra said two other athletes in the 37-member team will take their places.
"We cannot send any replacement of the two athletes now but we will field a relay team in Japan. Two other athletes (besides Tintu Luka and Mrudula Korada) from the team will run in the relay," he said.
Meanwhile, two of the six athletes who flunked the doping tests on July 1 have been summoned by National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) and will be facing a panel in Delhi to undergo B sample tests.
4X400m relay runner Sini Jose and 400m runner Tiana Mary Thomas, tested positive for stanzolol and methandienone, along with several other athletes are presently in Delhi.
Earlier, sprinter Mandeep Kaur, who was a member of the Indian quartet that won 4x400m relay gold in Commonwealth and Asian Games was suspended by for using banned drugs.
Like Mandeep Kaur, Sini Jose was also found to have used anabolic steroids, a class of banned substances that are hard to find in any legal food supplement.
Tiana Mary Thomas had another anabolic steroid epimethandiol in her urine sample.
However, the summons by NADA for Sini and Thomas could give both the athletes a second chance as it is likely that they would be undergoing B sample tests as well.
All the dope tainted athletes including Sini Jose were axed from the Asian Championships starting on July 7 in, Japan. The 37-member Indian team would be leaving for Kobe later in the day.