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Sri Lanka sports medical unit sacked over doping

Source: PTI
October 04, 2011 15:05 IST
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Sri Lanka sacked its entire sports medical unit over allegations that staff were linked to banned steroids used by cricketers and national athletes, officials said Tuesday.

According to AFP, Sports Minister Mahindananda Althugamage ordered the complete overhaul of the unit following positive tests for cricketer Upul Tharanga, national rugby players and boxers.

"The minister wants to revamp the sports medical unit and have a separate anti-doping section to provide a full range of services to national sports men and women," ministry spokesman Harsha Abeykoon said.

He said the head of the sports medical unit, doctor Geethanjan Mendis, was among those removed and that newly appointed staff should take over within a week.

Official sources said Mendis was sacked after repeated allegations against his unit, though no direct evidence of its involvement in the positive tests has been made public.

Opening batsman Tharanga, 26, was given a three-month ban earlier this year after testing positive for a banned substance.

He claimed he had been unwittingly given the drug by a high-profile Colombo-based faith healer who was reported to have links to the medical unit.

In June, three Sri Lankan national rugby players admitted taking banned steroids during the Asian Five Nations tournament in Colombo in May.

Sri Lankan boxer Manju Wanniarachchi was stripped of his 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medal after testing positive for a banned performance-enhancing substance.

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