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Dope-tainted athletes to be heard
Onkar Singh in Delhi | April 23, 2003 18:14 IST
The Indian Olympic Association's Medical and Anti-Doping Commission chairman, Professor Dr Manmohan Singh announced that the commission will summon all the 22 athletes who tested positive during the National Games in Hyderabad and Vishakapatnam in December 2002.
The commission, which met for over three hours in the IOA premises in Delhi on Wednesday, said there was no discrepancy in the procedure followed by the organizing committee while taking urine samples of the athletes.
"It was decided that as per the International Olympic Committee and Olympic Council of Asia rules the sportspersons who tested positive for banned substances should be given a personal hearing by the medical commission and anti-doping commission of the IOA, along with a representative of the IOA, a sports scientist and the in-charge of the dope controlálab of the SAI [Sports Authority of India]. The hearing panel will meet on 30.4.2001 at 11 a.m. in the IOA office," Dr Manmohan Singh announced.
He made it clear that the hearing panel would assume that the concerned athlete has nothing to say in his/her defence should he/she fail to appear.
"This decision has been taken keeping in view the legal aspects and principles of natural justice," he added.
Asked why it took the Sports Authority of India laboratory so long to test the samples, Dr Singh saidáthe lab has a limited capacity.
"We had 465 samples for testing and it naturally took time. We got the results on the 18th of March and we immediately swung into action," he added.
The athletes whose 'B samples' have not been tested so far could get it done by either paying for it themselves or asking the sports federations to do the needful on their behalf, he said.
He said no laxity would be shown while taking action as per rules, and imposing sanctions in consultation with the concerned national federations, in all cases violation of the Code of Doping, as the IOA is committed to upholding the principles of drug free sport as envisaged in the Olympic movement.
Asked how credible were the tests, Dr Singh saidáthe laboratory which performed the tests isáboth credible and up to the mark.
Asked when would the offending athletes' names be released officially, he replied: "Only after we have heard the athletes."
Would he ask for an explanation from the coaches or doctors in case the athletes name any for encouraging them to take drugs to enhance their performance?
"This matter does not come under the purview of the medical commission. It is for the IOA to take action in this regard," he added.