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 October 16, 2002 | 1630 IST

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IOA promises "strictest" action against Rani

The Indian Olympic Association said it will take "strictest possible" action against disgraced runner Sunita Rani if reports that she has been stripped of her Asian Games medals after failing dope tests are true.

Rani, who won the gold medal in the women's 1500 metres with a new Games record and a bronze in the 5000 metres, tested postive for the banned substance nandrolone and her B-sample also confirmed the result on Wednesday, according to reports from Busan.

IOA president Suresh Kalmadi said he was unaware about the result of the B-sample but if it is true, "exemplary punishment" would be given to the athlete.

"All the logical steps will follow, including the ban as per the rules of the Olympic Council of Asia and the Asian athletic federation," Kalmadi said.

"Such incidents deserve the strictest possible punishment. We cannot tolearte the use of drugs by an athlete," he said.

At the same time, he said, the incident should not take away the credit from other athletes who had performed admirably at the Games.

"The athletes have done a wonderful job. They have won more than 15 medals and one such incident should not take away the honour these athletes have brought to the country," he added.

Following the withdrawl of the gold and bronze medal, India slipped a place in the medals table to eighth position with ten gold, 12 silver and 12 bronze medals.

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