From: mohanlal panda <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, Jul 8, 2011 at 6:44 PM
Subject: Banned drugs available near NIS in Patiala
Greetings from PVCHR.
Please refer to the news in the link and the attached report: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/site/story/banned-drugs-freely-available-near-nis-in-patiala/1/143776.html
Doping: Banned drugs easily available near NIS in Patiala
Can the government simply wash its hands off by sacking a coach and ordering a probe into the dope scandal that has taken the country by storm? No, the government has to come up with solutions.
Headlines Today has exposed how Indian players can freely get access to banned drugs - that too outside the prestigious National Institute for Sports in Patiala.
Performance enhancing drugs are openly sold over the counter at chemist shops just a few hundred metres from the NIS in Patiala.
Headlines Today special investigation team went shopping and found no checks in place here to control the sale of banned drugs. Here syringes and steroid strips can be bought cheap and easy, fuelling the drugged dreams of players.
NIS executive director L.S. Ranawat says, "I have no information about banned drugs being available in market."
"It is easy to get it in Patiala," says a local youth, face masked.
NIS Patiala has a tarnished history dating back to 2001, when syringes and steroid strips were found in its hostels. An inquiry was ordered into the functioning of NIS by the Sports Authority of India in 2003.
Though no action has yet been taken, the report is believed to contain proof of sustained irregularities in anti-doping procedures and a nexus between NIS authorities, federation coaches and SAI officers.
An NIS trainee says, "Not all coaches do it. Players take it themselves."
Says Ranawat, "Each athlete is aware of banned drugs. It is very unfortunate that some top athletes have been found taking drugs. No athlete will do this knowingly. Coaches have responsibility to see this does not happen."
The Patiala chapter of the Indian dope story shows that it is a serious problem. It's a malice no one seems to accept.
The dope stink
Eight athletes in five days - that is the doping stink that has caught the country unawares and the last straw was the golden girl of CWG 2010 testing positive. Whose fault is it? The system, the foreign coaches or is it all to do with unabashed opportunism? Are players taking the short cut to success?
Ashwini Akkunji, along with 400m runner Priyanka Panwar, has tested positive for banned steroids in a dope test conducted by National Anti-Doping Agency or NADA. Other members of the team, Mandeep Kaur and Sini Jose, are already under the scanner.
This has taken the count of athletes who tested positive for dope to eight in just five days. The shocking revelations have thrown the Sports Ministry into a quick-action mode. Cracking the whip, Sports Minister Ajay Maken on Tuesday suspended the Ukranian coach Yuri Ogrodnic holding him responsible. Blaming the fiasco on Sports Authority of India, the minister has sought a report.
Maken said, "It is seen the officials and coaches are left scot-free, so the ministry has decided that the action should be taken against officials and coaches alongside the athletes so that such things do not occur in future. I have sought a report from the SAI within three days."
But has the action come a little too late? Could the embarrassment have been saved if the Sports Ministry acted on time? "I have only got to know about it now. So we have taken action," said Maken. But NADA claims that the Sports Ministry was aware of this for a long time, but did nothing.
Rahul Bhatnagar of NADA said, "For the last two years, Sports Ministry was in the know. They knew of all the tests that we conducted, but they did nothing."
The dope-taint on Indian athletics has angered the athletic legends in the country. They are demanding strict action against the athletes and a probe into the role of coaches, especially those from former Soviet Block countries.
"I expected such a thing. There have been talks," says former athlete Ashwini Nachappa.
Milkha Singh seeks "harsh punishment". "Probe coaches," adds the legendary athlete.
The hall of shame
Ashwini Akkunji, the symbol of India's rising might in track and field, has fallen from grace and what's baffling is the time scale - Gold medal at the Commonwealth Games and gold medal at the Asian Games.
Ashwini Akkunji failed a drugs test on July 4, less than a year after becoming a national star. The Indian quarter mile specialist has tested positive for the banned drugs stanozolol and methandienone.
But even as Ashwini rose the ladder of stardom over the last one year, the signs of extraordinary improvements in her performance began to raise eyebrows and now those concerns have been justified.
As it turns out, her remarkable timing improvement of four seconds in just four months from August last year to November 2010, were fuelled by performance enhancing drugs.
But Director of the Indian Athletics Federation M.L. Dogra still believes that there is hope.
For a sport that takes decades to see a four-second improvement, India has once again been sold to just another excuse.
Dr. Mohanlal Panda
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