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Provisional suspension slapped on Shailaja

By Staff
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New Delhi, Mar 1 (UNI) A day after Pujari Shailaja tested positive for a banned drug, International Weightlifting Federation today slapped provisional suspension on the lifter.

Shailaja, a gold medal prospect in the forthcoming Melbourne Commonwealth Games in the 75 kg category, was found to have traces of banned substance Stanozol in her urine sample taken during a random test conducted by World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) officials in Patiala recently.

''We have received the report of the test from International Weightlifting Federation which said her (Shailaja's) sample has returned adverse analytical findings such as Stanozol, a metabolite of Stanozolol which is Anabolic Steroid. She has been provisionally suspended by the International Weightlifting Federation,'' Indian Weightlifting Federation General Secretary Balbir Singh Bhatia said today.

'' We are shocked to receive the report of the positive testing.

We are requesting the world body for testing her 'B' sample,'' he added.

Bhatia said all was not over for the lifter and she could be exonerated if her 'B' sample was found all right.

''However, more problem could be in store if the B sample also fails and, in that case, she may face a ban ranging from six months to two years,'' he said.

Meanwhile, Indian Weightlifting Federation has now decided to pull Shailaja out of the squad for the Commonwealth Games after receiving the communication from the world body. Sports Authority of India (SAI) has been requested to remove her from the on-going camp at NIS, Patiala, Bhatia said.

Shailaja, the Manchester Commonwealth Games triple gold medallist was the only lifter to fail in the doping tests out of the 12, whose samples were collected by a WADA team on February 4.

Twentyeight lifters -- 15 women and 13 men -- were attending a training camp since January 5 at NIS Patiala ahead of the Melbourne Games.

This is the second time Shailaja has been under the scanner for doping. She was banned by Indian Weightlifting Federation for two years after she tested positive in a junior national competition in 2003.

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