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October 13, 2002 | 1600 IST

Sunita Rani's coach denies
doping report

Alastair Himmer

The coach of Indian athlete Sunita Rani has denied a Japanese news agency report that the Asian Games 1,500 metres gold medallist tested positive for the banned substance nandrolone.

Traces of nandrolone were found in the first "A" test after Rani won gold in Busan last week, the Japanese news agency Kyodo reported on Sunday quoting Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) officials.

But, asked about the report, her coach Renu Kohli said: "Absolutely no way. Rani is absolutely clean."

The OCA medical committee chairman Yoshio Kuroda, meanwhile, said that stories of a failed test had been leaked.

"We have made no official report about her test. This story has been leaked from somewhere. We will have a meeting tonight and release the results when the process is complete," he said.

Rani followed her 1,500 metres gold on Thursday with a bronze in the 5,000 on Saturday.

Kyodo reported that the OCA would wait for the results of a second sample on Tuesday before deciding whether to strip Rani of her medals.


Indian chef de mission Jagdish Tytler confirmed he had been summoned to meet OCA officials on Tuesday -- the day after the closing ceremony -- but denied that he had been informed about a failed test.

"The medical commission have asked us to see them to discuss something important. But they have said nothing about a failed test," he said.

"(Rani) has heard about this rumour and she is denying it. If there is something wrong we will ask for another test."

Rani, who also won a silver and bronze at the 1998 Bangkok Games, was at the track with her coach to watch the relay finals on Sunday but declined to comment.

Two male Indian weightlifters failed doping tests at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester, England earlier this year and were stripped of a total of two gold medals, three silvers and a bronze.

So far no athletes have tested positive during the 14th Asian Games, although Lebanese bodybuilder Youssef El Zein had his bronze medal taken away by the OCA last week after refusing to take a mandatory test.

Three Malaysian sepak takraw players were also sent home after a test conducted in Penang before their arrival in Pusan showed they had taken morphine prior to the Games.

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