At least nine sportspersons, including four weightlifters and one track and field athlete, failed dope tests at the 35th National Games held in Kerala last month, top officials of national federations and organisers of the mega event said today.
2006 Commonwealth Games gold medallist weightlifter Geeta Rani (Punjab), Harjeet Kaur (Haryana), Komal Wakale (Maharashtra) and Mangte P Kom (Chandigarh) were the weightlifters who tested positive while hammer thrower K M Rachna (Punjab) also failed dope tests.
Geeta Rani won a gold in women’s 75-plus kg category in the National Games while Harjeet (women’s 58kg), Mangte P Kom (women’s 75kg) and Komal Wakale (women’s +75kg) bagged a silver each. K M Rachna had won a silver in women’s hammer throw with an effort of 56.08m.
All of them have been put under provisional suspensions by their respective federations pending confirmatory ‘B’ sample tests. They face the prospect of being banned for a maximum period of four years meant for first-time offenders.
The National Anti-Doping Agency has increased the ban period of first time dope offenders to maximum of four years from two years, effective January 1, 2015.
The medals they had won at the National Games (January 31 to February 14) are expected to be confiscated and their records deleted if their ‘B’ samples also return positive.
Indian Weightlifting Federation Vice-President Sahdev Yadav confirmed that four lifters have returned positive for banned substances.
“Geeta Rani, Harjeet and Komal tested positive for banned stimulants while Mangte P Kom returned positive for a steroid,” Yadav told PTI.
It is also learnt that Athletics Federation of India has provisionally suspended K M Rachna after the dope result.
Meanwhile, Kerala National Games CEO Jacob Punnoose told PTI that nine to 10 participants failed dope tests of ‘A’ samples of their urine taken during the Games.
“Nine or 10 athletes failed dope tests at the National Games,” Punnoose said from Kerala, adding that he cannot divulge the details.