Mumbai: The Olympic Gold Quest, founded by sports legends Prakash Padukone and Geet Sethi, has provisionally suspended the funding it gives to drug-tainted athlete Ashwini Akkunji, one of the sports persons it supports, and is awaiting the result of her "B" sample.
"As per the contract we have signed with the athlete, which has a strict anti-doping code, we have no choice but to provisionally suspend Ashwini's funding," OGC's CEO and former India hockey captain Viren Rasquinha told reporters.
The 23-year-old Ashwini, who created a sensation in the Asian Games in Guangzhou last year when she won the women's 400m hurdles gold and was part of the gold-winning women's 4 x 400m relay quartet in the Asiad and in the preceding Commonwealth Games in Delhi, tested positive for a banned anabolic steroid.
A total of eight athletes, including Ashwini's gold- winning relay teammates Mandeep Kaur and Sini Jose, tested positive for the banned substance and the dope scandal has pushed the Athletics Federation of India on the backfoot.
The dope flunk by the relay runners also resulted in the sacking of Ukrainian coach Yuri Ogorodnik by the federation.
Rasquinha said that if Ashwini's "B" sample also tests positive then the non-profit organisation would have no choice except to stop the athlete's funding in absolute terms.
"If her "B" sample also turns positive we will be forced to stop funding her officially. But we would continue to support her in our individual capacity to get over this. She may have made a mistake but we will not desert her. We will do our best," Rasquinha added.
First Published: Wednesday, July 06, 2011, 21:22