New Delhi: India's leading quarter-milers Mandeep Kaur and Juana Murmu, two of the six athletes to fail a dope test, have pleaded innocence and asked for their vitamin food supplements to be examined which they said were the cause of their returning positive.
Acting Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Vijay Kumar Malhotra has demanded a judicial enquiry into the doping violations and also questioned the role of Sports Authority of India (SAI) coaches and trainers in the scandal that has shamed India.
Mandeep, who failed a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) test, blamed the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) for not providing the team with a doctor and leaving the athletes on their own to look out for food suplements.
AFI director M.L. Dogra said Mandeep and Juana have written to the anti-doping committee to test the food supplements which they had been taking during training.
"The panel which will hear the cases will decide on it. If the panel wants, the test can be conducted at National Dope Testing Laboratory or any other government laboratory," Dogra said.
Mandeep, who was part of the 4x400m relay team that won gold in last year's Commonwealth Games and Asian Games, tested positive for methandienone and stanozolol, while Juana consumed banned drug methandienone.
The two athletes came here to receive the notice of suspension and denied taking any banned substance.
"Never in my wildest dreams I thought that I would fail a dope test. I have never taken steroids in my life. I have been tested regularly for the last six-seven years and never failed a dope test," said Mandeep.
"The AFI never provided us with a doctor, who could advise us on the food supplements. I am sure if we had a good doctor this wouldn't have happened," she said.
"In the absence of a team doctor, we bought the vitamins and food supplements on our own," she said.
The others who tested positive were Sini Jose, also a member of the gold-winning relay team, fellow runner Tiana Mary Thomas, shot-putter Sonia and men's long jumper Hari Krishnan Muralidharan.
Mandeep said that after the Asian Games, she was put on the WADA list and she was not mad to consume banned substances.
"I think the banned substances might have come in our body from the food supplements. After Asian Games, I am on the WADA list and I would be mad to take banned substances. Traces of these substances stay in our body for at least three months, so any player who is on the WADA list will not dare to take any banned substance. I request the officials to get out vitamins checked in the laboratory," she said.
Malhotra said a thorough inquiry has to be done. He also that the dope-tainted athletes won't be spared.
"Some sportspersons have brought shame to the country and it is not acceptable. We want sports to be drug-free, India is a party to the International Charter on this issue. What the officials responsible for training and coaching of the sports persons in sports Authority of India centres were doing," Malhotra said in a statement.
"What was shocking was that it was international agency (WADA) which first caught the tainted athletes. Only later our domestic agency NADA swung into action," he added.
"IOA is not taking the issue lightly, nor it will sweep the matter under carpet because some potential medal winners are involved," Malhotra said.
First Published: Saturday, July 02, 2011, 14:01