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Indian athletes hooked on ‘80s drugs: Sumariwalla

By Stan Rayan

Despite big names like discus thrower Kamalpreet Kaur and javelin thrower Shivpal Singh — both Tokyo Olympians — failing dope tests recently, the Athletics Federation of India is not working on any new steps to curb the menace.

“What more can we do? They have been educated, they are well informed on what they can and cannot take and they are not new athletes,” AFI president Adille Sumariwalla told The Hindu.

“If an athlete wants to ‘commit suicide’, I cannot stop anybody. Everybody is aware. I have said in every talk of mine, at the Nationals, stay away from dope. All the testing that we have to do, we are doing. I have pushed for the bill on doping, now the bill is coming. What more can I do?” Sumariwalla asks.

Doping is a big business the world over and new drugs pop up every year. But the flavour in India appears to be different.

“Every time the new (WADA) list comes, national camp attendees are updated, but none of them are hooked on new drugs, they are caught on 1980s drugs,” said Sumariwalla. “Which means they are all picked up from the local market somewhere. They are not some fancy synthetic drugs.”

Incidentally, Kamalpreet, who was sixth at the Olympics, tested positive for stanozolol, the steroid which forced Canadian Ben Johnson to leave the 1988 Seoul Olympics in disgrace.

The AFI’s choice of countries — like Turkey, the Czech Republic and Poland — for overseas camps ahead of major games have also raised eyebrows in many quarters.

But Sumariwalla found that strange and explained the advantages of Antalya, where many Indians are currently training. “The number of doping cases in India are more than in Turkey. So they should be telling us, you don’t come here, you will dope our athletes,” said Sumariwalla.

“The Turkey site is the only one in the world which has a hill, sand and track... all the three facilities. And the weather is good,” he added.

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