Shot-putter Inderjeet fails dope test, cries conspiracy

The reigning Asian Champion Inderjeet tested positive for a banned steroid and was informed by the National Anti-Doping Agency. His out-of-competition test was done on June 22.

“My sample has been tampered with. Why would a player take something which is not good for his health?” asks Inderjeet.   -  PTI

Ten days before the Rio Olympics kicks off, Indian sports is grappling with a series of doping violations that has taken the sheen off sending over a 100 athletes for the first time ever.

>READ: Narsingh fails dope test, Rio participation doubtful

The latest to fail a dope test is shot-putter Inderjeet Singh with his A sample testing positive for two weak steroids used to build muscular strength and energy. The athlete has cried conspiracy, claiming he was being targeted by people jealous of his achievements. “I am being targeted for being outspoken,” he claimed.

“If 10 days before going to the Olympics somebody is caught for doping, this is clearly a conspiracy. I have given a dope test at every competition and come clean. This is being done by rivals who are afraid that I may give a good performance and go far in the sport,” he said, adding that there was no one supporting him at the moment.

The National Dope Testing Laboratory submitted its report late on Monday night and Inderjeet has been placed under provisional suspension. NADA director-general Navin Aggarwal swept aside any suggestions of tampering.

“If anyone has any doubts about tampering, he can always ask for testing his B sample, check the seal and even witness the testing process.

“Both bottles are sealed in the presence of the athlete and taken from the same sample provided. He has his options if he suspects anything,” Aggarwal said adding, that he could also waive a second testing and directly seek a hearing with the disciplinary panel instead.

The DG, however, refused to name Inderjeet since according to protocol it is not allowed until a hearing is scheduled. The athlete, speaking to the media all through the day, was yet to inform NADA about his options.

Like Narsingh, Inderjeet was the first of the track and field athletes to qualify for Rio, in May last year. Unlike the wrestler, however, there is no federation support for Inderjeet.

“Inderjeet is under the TOP scheme, he has been receiving funds directly from the government and training on his own with his coach (Pritam Singh). The AFI is disappointed, but it is not possible for us to monitor those outside the national camps,” AFI secretary C.K. Valson said.

Both NADA and AFI sources claim there could be more offenders in the coming few days. “Statistically, 3-5 per cent of athletes in a contingent are likely to fail. By that logic, there could be more violations uncovered before the Olympics actually begin,” a NADA official said, adding that the collated results of all Rio-bound athletes who have been tested could be in by August 1-2.

“If needed, those failing the test may also be called back from Rio,” the official said.

AFI, too, is concerned there may be more violators. “There are athletes who are not part of the national camp and have done exceptionally well all of a sudden. It is natural to raise doubts and the federation has no way to monitor their progress. Even in Inderjeet's case, the federation often did not even know where he was training,” an AFI official claimed.