Doping hits Indian Olympic track medal hopes
India’s hopes of a coveted track medal at next year’s Olympic Games
in London have taken a hit after two of the country’s Commonwealth Games
and Asian Games gold medallists failed drug tests.
The National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) said that women’s 4x400m relay
runners Mandeep Kaur and Sini Jose tested positive for banned steroids
and were suspended pending the results of their B samples, due in the
NADA director-general Rahul Bhatnagar told AFP that the findings -
among six positive tests for steroids on Indian athletes in recent days
- made it unlikely that either would compete in the British capital.
“Because they’ve reached national level, they’ve been tested hundreds
of times. It’s not that they’re not aware (of banned drugs),” he said.
“With steroids I’m doubtful if they would get a reprieve. If they’re
banned for two years, they won’t get a chance to compete in the
Hopes have been high in India for its women’s 4x400m relay team since
winning the country’s first-ever women’s Commonwealth Games track gold
in front of home fans in New Delhi last October.
They repeated their success in November at the Asian Games in
Guangzhou, China. Kaur and Jose were part of both winning teams.
Kaur protested her innocence, telling the NDTV news channel: ``I have
full faith that I did nothing wrong. I don’t understand what’s happened.
There could have been problems with food supplements or minerals that we
“I’m not mad enough to take steroids, which remain in the body for
months... I’m not giving up. I will practice for the Olympics... I will
prove to others that I am innocent,” she added.
India has never won a track medal at the Olympics and just missed out
in Los Angeles in 1984, when P.T. Usha narrowly failed to take a bronze
in the women’s 400m hurdles.
Milkha Singh was also edged into fourth in a photo-finish in the
men’s 400m in the 1960 Rome Games.
Bhatnagar said two other female 400m runners, Tiana Mary Thomas and
Jauna Murmu, plus a female shot-putter, Sonia, also tested positive.
The Times of India newspaper on Friday said all four one-lap
specialists were trained by the same Ukrainian coach.