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|August 26, 2001||
Kunjarani tests positive, suspended for six months
Weightlifter Kunjarani Devi has tested positive for a banned drug and suspended by the International Weightlifting Federation from all international events for a period of six months.
Kunjarani's A sample showed presence of banned drug 'strychnine' during random tests carried out during the July 12-17 Senior Asian Weightlifting Championships held at Jeon Ju, South Korea, highly-placed sources in the Indian Weightlifting Federation said in New Delhi on Sunday.
"We have received an intimation from the international body saying she has been suspended for six months. They have informed us that if Kunjarani wants her B sample to be tested, she must submit in writing by Wednesday (August 29)," the sources said.
Kunjarani, who was part of a three-member Indian team cleared personally by Sports Minister Uma Bharti for participation at the event, had won gold in the 48 kg category.
The results now stand annuled and the Asian Weightlifting Federation has asked IWF to return her medal immediately.
Balbeer Singh Bhatia, one of the two members of the ad-hoc committee presently running IWF, when contacted, said, "Our medal chances for the Afro-Asian Games has received a major blow with this sad news. She was our biggest hope as she had been performing consistently of late".
The IWF, thrown into disarray after its chief Gopal Kanra was accused of embezzlement of funds, was revived on August 9 after remaining suspended from April 17 to July 31. A two-member ad-hoc committee comprising Bhatia and R R Singh was set up to run the body.
Bhatia squarely blamed the Sports Authority of India coach, S C Goyel, for deriliction of duty.
"It was primarily the coach's job to see that all the members of the Indian team were tested before leaving the country," he said.
"According to the rules, every sportperson, before leaving the country for any international event, should be tested. In this case all three members -- Kunjarani Devi, Pratima Kumari and Nandani Devi -- were here in Delhi for five days and the coach should have arranged for the mandatory testing," he said.
Bhatia said a seven-member Indian team, which included Kunjarani, was dope tested on June 7 and she had tested negative then
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