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|September 6, 2001||
Afro-Asian Games will be dope-free: Bharti
Sports Minister Uma Bharti on Thursday said every effort is being made to ensure that the inaugural Afro-Asian Games, from November 3 to 11, is completely dope-free.
"All International Olympic Committee norms for dope testing would be strictly applied in the Games and drug cheats would be punished accordingly," Bharti told reporters in six different cities in a video-conference.
"International standard testing machines are being imported from Germany. We have also invited German doctors to supervise doping tests," Bharti said.
Though the competitions would be held between Asia and Africa, with individual countries not getting any credit for the medals, Indian Olympic Association president Suresh Kalmadi said athletes from the country are expected to win at least 16 to 18 medals.
"Our chances of winning medals are bright in hockey, shooting, tennis, boxing, weightlifting and some events of athletics," Kalmadi, who is also the working chairman of the Games' organising committee, said.
Bharti assured that the participation of Pakistan would not pose any problems despite India pulling out of the Asian Test Championship.
"India is taking part in the South Asian Federation Games, which are being held in Pakistan. There is no problem as far as Pakistan's participation (in Afro-Asian Games) is concerned," she said.
Kalmadi said the selection of the Indian athletes for the Games would be strictly on the basis of their previous performances and there is absolutely no controversy over it.
India will participate in all 41 events of eight disciplines -- athletics, boxing, football, hockey, shooting, swimming, tennis, weightlifting - besides two demonstration games -- Kabaddi and Kho-Kho, Kalmadi said.
Asked whether the Sports Ministry is thinking of giving any cash awards to Indian mendal winners, Bharti said she is discussing the matter with senior officials.
A total of 477 medals are at stake at the Games, in which competitiors from the 95 member countries from Asia and Africa are expected to participate.
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