Sri Lanka`s Delhi Games champion fails drugs test

Colombo: Sri Lankan bantamweight boxer Manju Wanniarachchi has tested positive for the banned steroid nandrolone and is set to lose his nation`s first Commonwealth Games gold medal in seven decades.

Wanniarachchi beat Welshman Sean McGoldrick on points in Delhi earlier this month to end Sri Lanka`s 72 year wait for a Games gold but the celebrations appear to be short-lived after the fighter returned a positive drugs test.

Sri Lanka National Olympic Committee president Hemasiri Fernando said on Monday that a letter from the Commonwealth Games anti-doping committee indicated that Wanniarachchi`s `A` sample contained a large amount of nandrolone.

"We have handed the letter to Wanniarachchi in the presence of national boxing association officials," Fernando told reporters.

"It is now up to them to decide whether Wanniarachchi should request for his `B` sample to be tested. If that sample is also positive, Wanniarachchi will lose his gold medal and faces a ban from boxing," Fernando added.

"We have been made to understand that Wanniarachchi is an innocent victim of this sad state of affairs. He was injected with this drug six months ago having obtained it from a medical practitioner. If that is the case, we will try to mitigate with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for a lenient punishment."

Wanniarachchi faces a two-year ban from boxing if the `B` sample returns a positive result with Fernando adding that his organisation had already taken possession of the gold medal and were awaiting the final outcome of his fate.

The Sri Lankan becomes the fifth competitor to fail a drugs test at the Delhi Games, along with three Nigerian track runners and an Indian race walker.

Bureau Report

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