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Indian lifters under drug cloud again despite denials

Written by: Staff

Melbourne, Mar 23 (UNI) The doping spectre simply refuses to spare the Indian weightlifters with two of them -- Tejinder Singh and Edwin Raju -- allegedly failing drug test even though the officials continue to deny such reports.

The media here has splashed that 85-kilogram-class lifter Tejinder, who withdrew from the Games competition at the last minute on Monday, has tested positive and claimed the Indian, challenging the positive drug result, is appealing to the Court of Arbitration of Sport.

While Tejinder did not take part in the competition, the ohter lifter under the scanner, Raju, had finished 4th in 56 kg category.

Under drug-testing rules, athletes who test positive during Games testing, which started when the athletes village opened, are suspended until their hearing is complete.

The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), however, refuses to provide any details of the drug tests until the process ends. CGF chief executive Mike Hooper refused to confirm the drug test results, saying they were confidential until the appeals process had been exhausted.

''The protocols were designed to help protect the athletes' rights,'' he said.

''We're not trying to withhold anything; we're doing what we're supposed to do in relation to a robust anti-doping programme,'' he was quoted as saying by ''The Age''.

An athlete choosing to contest the initial result can demand to be present during the opening of the B sample at a Sydney laboratory.

This sample would take a further 48 hours to analyse. The entire process can take between four and nine days.

This incident follows the pre-Games positive drug test results of two Indian weightlifters who were selected and later dropped from the squad and did not come here.

Indian weightlifting team manager Harbhajan Singh, however, rubbished the reports saying, ''It is without any foundation and is utterly baseless'' and added ''Tejinder did not take part in the competition as he was not well and there were no ulterior motives behind his not figuring in the competition.'' The Australian Sports authority is conducting more than 1000 tests, including at least 300 blood tests, as part of the Games testing on behalf of the CFG.

In the previous edition of the Games in Manchester also, two weightlifters -- K Madaswamy and Sateesha Rai -- had falied drug tests and interestingly Sateesha is here again this time with the weightlifting squad.


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