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Sunita loses medals, India seventh spot

Busan: Indian long-distance runner Sunita Rani was stripped of her Asian Games medals Wednesday after failing to pass dope tests, the organising committee said.

Sunita tested positive for nandrolone, a steroid which assists muscle-building. The urine samples were taken after she won the gold medal in women’s 1,500 metres in a Games record-breaking performance Thursday and the 5,000 bronze Saturday.

A second test on the B sample taken from her showed the same results, said Lim Chae-sup, an official at the Asian Games doping control centre.

The Olympic Council of Asia has decided to strip Sunita of the medals and delete her records, Lim said. Nandrolone is on the International Olympic Council’s banned list.

The Sunita saga pushed India down to eighth in the overall standings, while Taiwan moved up one place to seventh. In the 1998 Asian Games in Bangkok, Sunita had won silver in 5,000 and bronze in 1,500.

It was the only positive dope test at the 14th Asian Games which ended Monday. Earlier, a Lebanese bodybuilder was stripped of bronze for refusing to take the test after the competition.

Sunita’s time of four minutes, 6.03 seconds was an Asian Games record in 1,500 metres. The previous record of 4:12.48 was set by China’s Qu Yunxia in Hiroshima in 1994.

Sunita won the 5,000 bronze in 15:18.77. She was one of six runners who bettered the previous Games record of 15:54.45, set by Indonesia’s Sutono in Bangkok in 1998.

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