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Milkha blames coaches, officials
for drug menace in Indian sports
Onkar Singh in New Delhi | April 23, 2003 12:50 IST
Former Olympian Milkha Singh blames the drug menace in Indian sports on sports officials and coaches, who, he said, encouraged athletes to use performance enhancing drugs.
What has come out so far is merely the tip of the ice-berg, he told rediff.com on phone from his residence in Chandigarh.
The Medical Commission of the Indian Olympic Association is meeting in Delhi on Wednesday to discuss the growing problem of drug abuse by Indian athletes.
"I am told the Medical Commission would release the names of the 22 athletes who had tested positive after a dope test during the National Games at Hyderabad," Milkha Singh told rediff.com.
He held various sports federations/associations and coaches responsible for encouraging athletes to use drugs to enhance their performance.
Athletes were being penalised for no fault of theirs and it is the sports bodies, coaches and doctors who should be held responsible for that, he said.
"I sympathise with P Udaya Laxmi, who won two gold medals in the National Games and has alleged that she was told to take drugs to enhance her performance. She had the guts to reveal the names of the officials who told her to do so," he said.
"The government should constitute a committee of comprising officials of the Indian Olympic Association and of the sports ministry to go into the root cause of this problem and take stringent action against those found guilty of encouraging athletes to take drugs," he said.
He recollected that he had incurred the wrath of sports officials and sports bodies when he raised the issue of drug abuse about a decade and a half back.
"I fully back the Athletics Federation of India for taking strict action against the athletes involved in drug abuse. This is a cancer, which has spread not only in Indian sports circles but also in various sports at the international level.""I recently read of how (US sprinter and Olympic gold medallist) Carl Lewis got (Canadian sprinter) Ben Johnson out of his way citing use of drugs. Now we are told that even Lewis took drugs," he said.