The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sunita Rani seeks government support

Sangrur: Describing the fight to prove her innocence as an “uphill task”, drug-tainted athlete Sunita Rani said Wednesday she needed the government’s support.

Sunita’s fight received a shot in the arm with a newspaper report saying there was a “huge difference” in the amount of the banned substance nandrolone found in her A and B samples taken after the 1500m run. Experts feel such difference is unlikely.

But the 22-year-old middle distance runner is determined to carry on the crusade against the “conspirators who were jealous of her brilliant performance in the recent Asian Games in Busan.”

“It is a tough task to fight alone against big powers. I won the medals with grit, dedication, devotion and hard labour,” Sunita said. “However, if the government backs me, I would certainly be proved innocent.”

Sunita, who was stripped of her gold and bronze medal after testing positive for the banned substance, said: “Being a girl of rural and poor background it will be an uphill task to fight alone.”

She claimed the conspiracy by these “powers” was hatched to shut the doors on her in the Olympics in view of her superb performance in Busan. She admitted the controversy had adversely affected her practice routine.

However, she is optimistic of winning laurels for the country in the Olympics despite all odds. “I feel for all my well-wishers who are extending their support from every corner of the country through telephone calls and mails.”

Result of the A sample taken after the 1500m run shows nandrolone at 21 nanograms per millilitre whereas in the B sample it is six — a variation which experts say is unheard of.

“There is a big difference in the first sample taken after the 1500m run. Unless there is a calculation error, it is rather unusual,” a sports medicine expert said on condition of anonymity.

“This discrepancy questions the reliability of the results. Once an error is found, you can always cast aspersions on the results of the two other samples taken after the 5000m,” the expert said.

“Had she not taken part in the 5000m, one could have really argued her case showing the big difference in the A and B samples taken after 1500m.” Sunita also found the discrepancy rather unusual and believed that it would strengthen her case.

“I have not heard of such variations till date. The laboratory, which conducted the tests, is not a local or district level lab likely to make mistakes. This is an international level lab,” she said.

“It is premature to comment on newspaper reports. We have our own enquiry committee and we will wait for the report which is expected by this week,” AAFI secretary Lalit Bhanot said.

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