Indian weightlifters don’t seem to learn from past mistakes. Despite the Indian Weightlifting Federation’s (IWF) strict attempts to curb doping menace in the sport, the lifters continue to bring shame to the country.
In what could be a major embarrassment for India, 2011 Commonwealth Championship gold medallist Rupinder Singh has tested positive for a banned substance, Methandienone, an orally-effective anabolic steroid, by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) for a sample that was collected during the first week of December 2013.
Though the IWF is yet to officially announce the result of the test despite getting the report from NADA, dna has learnt from reliable sources that Rupinder was one among the 30 lifters who were forced to undergo the dope test by the federation in order to become eligible for participation at the National Championships to be held in Nagpur next month.
Rupinder won the senior 105kg snatch gold for India at the 2011 Commonwealth Championships in Cape Town. He also won silver in clean and jerk (184kg).
In order to shield itself from any further ignominy, the IWF has now barred all the 20 weightlifters including Monika Devi, Srishti Singh, Swati Singh and Himanshu Chang who failed to appear for the dope test in December.
Actually, this started late last year when the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) decided to place IWF under the Reserve Testing Pool (RTP) keeping in mind Indian lifters’ tainted past. WADA had sent a list of 115 lifters to IWF who had been red-flagged and were under the scanner, and asked it to provide details of their whereabouts as per the procedure.
An alarmed IWF immediately asked all the absentees to report for the National Camp in Patiala and also provide information about their whereabouts as soon as possible. However, only a few top lifters like Commonwealth Games gold medallist K Ravi Kumar, Chandrakant D Mali, Sukhen Dey and Junior Weightlifting Championship bronze medallist Saikhom Mirabai Chanu reported for the camp. In fact, Chang fled the camp halfway through without informing the authorities.
The other 50 lifters who were called for the dope test, however, failed to turn up on the day of sample collection. They only informed IWF that they had been training at their respective centres under the supervision of their personal coaches.
“This made the federation suspicious about their intent because most of the lifters who chose to skip the test were already under the scanner for their tainted past. It was then that the IWF shot a letter to all the 50 that ‘in order to be eligible to compete at the Nationals in Nagpur to be held in March, it would be mandatory for all of them to undergo the dope test in Patiala’,” informed a senior IWF official. While 20 of the 50 lifters failed to report in time for the test, the remaining 30 underwent the dope test.
dna had reported earlier this week about World Anti-Doping Agency officials from Hungary raiding the weightlifting camp last week and collecting 21 samples from Patiala.
“IWF has no tolerance for any dope cheat. Our executive council has already decided to bar all the 20 lifters from taking part in the Nationals in Nagpur. We’re ensuring that the game is played in a clean manner and if anyone is caught, he or she will not be spared one bit,” IWF vice-president Sahdev Yadav said on Thursday.
IWF is hoping that all 21 lifters will come clean in WADA’s tests.