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Coach Yuri claims innocence in dope scandal

July 08, 2011 16:18 IST

A couple of days after being sacked, India's Ukraine-based athletics coach Yuri Ogorodnik accused Sports Authority of India for poor standards at the NIS Patiala.

"We don't have a doctor. We do not have food or good supplements. We don't have good places. The temperature soars to 40-45 degrees," Yuri, who was given the marching orders after six out of the eight athletes he coached flunked the dope test, said.

The beleaguered coach claimed innocence, saying he never gave any anabolic steroid to his wards and that the food supplements consumed by the athletes might have been contaminated.

Ashwini, Sini Jose, Mandeep and Manjeet Kaur after winning the gold at the Asian Games"When we request they (SAI) give us only vitamins and proteins because they don't have money. But for Olympics you need modern food supplements which are very costly. Here you get only rice and spicy food which is not good for the athletes. The supplements come from China etc… which are not good quality supplements," the former coach revealed.

"We bought supplements together. I have given them only food supplements and no other tablets. You know somebody can mix something with food supplements then how would you know that," he insisted.

The Ukrainian said his only fault was that he wrote the schedule to be maintained by the athletes.

"I must be responsible because I write the schedule but I have never mentioned any anabolic drugs," Yuri told CNN-IBN in an interview.

Six quarter-milers -- Sini Jose, Ashwini Akkunji, Mandeep Kaur, Juana Murmu, Tiana Mary Thomas and Priyanka Pawar – who were being coached by Yuri tested positive for methandienone.

Sini, Ashwini and Mandeep, were a part of the 4x400m relay team that won the gold at last year's Commonwealth and Asian Games. Ashwini also won the gold in the 400m hurdles at the Asian Games.

"I am a professional coach. Every month these girls are tested and their tests have never shown positive, because I have never given them any drugs," the coach said.

Yuri maintained that the girls are very sharp and never took any supplement before going through the details.

"The girls are very sharp and well disciplined. Check food supplement first. Maintain very good discipline," he said.

The former coach said he does not know what is happening.

"The federation shoots first and asks later," he said.

He reiterated that he fears for his life in India and warned that if anything untoward happens with him it will invite more trouble for the federation and SAI.

"I think that I must quickly go home because if I stay here in the same situation, I will die. The federation and SAI will then have more problems if I die here. I am confine to one room, don't have food and am not allowed to go outside. People are happy to see me in trouble," he insisted.

The coach, however, said that he wants the truth to come out. "I am (an) old man, can come back if girls want me to coach them. I am very attached to them and love them like my family. I don't believe that they have taken any drug. I don't know what is happening and I also want truth to come out," he said.

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