CHENNAI: The doping menace has once again reared its ugly head as 21 weightlifters have been caught in dope tests conducted across various competitions this year. Lifters, mostly from the northern states, tested positive during the National Youth and Junior Weightlifting Championships held in January and during departmental meets of Police and Railways. Four lifters including Commonwealth Games gold medallist Geeta Rani were earlier announced to have tested ‘positive’ in the tests conducted during the National Games.
What is more embarrassing is that eight lifters tested positive during the National Youth and Junior Championships while the rest were caught during the departmental and varsity competitions.
Terming the incident a ‘shame’, Indian Weightlifting Federation general secretary Sahdev Yadav promised strict action against the offenders. “Though we are awaiting ‘B’ sample tests of the athletes to have final confirmation, all 21 have been placed under provisional suspension. This (doping) is a disgrace and we have decided to deal with it with an iron fist,” Yadav told Express.
Yadav added that action would be taken against the concerned state units as well as coaches of the tainted athletes. The lifters from Delhi, Punjab and Haryana had topped the list and therefore the Federation is mulling imposing a one-year ban on them. “Off late, most dope fails have been from the North. So far we haven’t found any one from the South getting caught. Naturally we have to be tough towards such states” said Yadav.
When asked whether the rise in doping has anything to do with the Rio Olympics preperation, Yadav replied in the negative. “National campers are in Patiala NIS and they are regularly under National Anti-doping Agency’s observation. Those who were caught are third and fourth string lifters,” he said.