>The drug spectre is back to haunt Indian weightlifting. Five positive cases at the National Youth Championships held at Yamunanagar, Haryana this month have prompted the National Anti-Doping Agency to express its concern to the Weightlifting Federation of India and ask the body to set its house in order.
The five weightlifters, who NADA refused to identify, have been issued provisional suspensions and the first notice. The ‘B’ samples are yet to be tested. Four of the lot tested positive for steroids and the other a stimulant.
This was the second major infringement in two months, with eight weightlifters testing positive at the all India Railway championship in December last year. NADA found that steroids abuse was rampant in these cases too. “We are shocked at the sudden spurt in positive dope cases in such a short span of time,” NADA director general Rahul Bhatnagar told TOI. “We have written to WFI, saying the increasing number of dope cases is worrisome and that they have to put an end to the menace.”
WFI secretary general Sahdev Yadav admitted he was dismayed by the turn of events. “We will take strict action against the offenders. We will ban the weightlifter, coach and the state that he comes from, if found guilty.”
WFI had to borrow Rs 1.75 crore last year to pay a dope fine to its international body so that its lifters could take part in the Commonwealth Games. International Weightlifting Federation had slapped a $5-lakh fine on WFI after six lifters flunked dope tests conducted by WADA last year.
Days after WFI paid the fine, Manchester Commonwealth Games gold medallist Sanamacha Chanu (53kg) failed a NADA test for banned stimulant methylehexameamine.