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Doping inquiry panel stonewalled, give up

Friday, 21 July 2006 - 11:11pm IST

If it wasn't bad enough that India has been embarrassed by doping scandals, the lack of will to find a solution is even more shameful.

NEW DELHI: If it wasn’t bad enough that India has been consistently embarrassed by doping scandals at international events, the lack of will to find a solution is even more shameful. The two-member inquiry committee probing the 2006 Commonwealth Games twin scandal has informed the Indian Weightlifting Federation that they cannot do justice to the responsibility they have been given due to “lack of co-operation” from various agencies including the Sports Authority of India (SAI).

AK Mattoo, the head of the inquiry committee and a veteran sports administrator, had written a letter to the IWF, which is in DNA’s possession, informing the federation that it was impossible to conduct the inquiry in the face of opposition from the leading agencies. Veteran journalist Ramu Sharma was the other member on the inquiry panel.

DNA’s investigation revealed that Mattoo’s inquiry committee faced strong resistance from various quarters which included a senior official of the IWF, SAI doctors who were part of the preparation camp for the Commonwealth Games at the NIS training centre in Patiala and doctors and officials of the Anti-Doping lab in Delhi.

DNA came across several letters that were sent by the inquiry committee to SAI asking them to request the doctors and officials accompanying the lifters to report for the inquiry.

Here’s how events unfolded.

Mattoo wanted to launch a scientific inquiry to find out what had been going on in the NIS preparation camp, from the first day till the lifting squad’s departure for Melbourne. It was essential to find out the types of dietary supplements which were given to the lifters, whether these imported supplements were tested by the SAI lab, the number of tests carried out by SAI’s anti-dope lab for the entire camp period, to identify the doctors and officials with the lifting team. None of these officials cooperated with the inquiry committee, who had to be satisfied with interacting with only national coaches and national lifters who also included Raju and Tejinder.

The IWF also failed to ensure that the doctors and SAI officials complied with the summons from the inquiry committee. DNA asked Mattoo if he had reported these problems to IWF and he replied in the affirmative. He said he was disgusted with the callous attitude of various agencies and then he, along with his colleague in the inquiry panel, decided to inform the IWF president HJ Dora that they were not in a position to complete the inquiry.

Mattoo said: “Because of the lack of information and access to the concerned officials and doctors, there was hardly anything for me to do. I was not able to do justice to the inquiry due to the lack of cooperation from various agencies. So, I wrote to IWF that we cannot conduct it.”

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