The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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AAFI clears Sunita of drug charges

New Delhi: The Amateur Athletic Federation of India Monday absolved Sunita Rani of doping charges on the basis of the report by its one-man inquiry committee and decided to take up the matter with the world athletics body to seek justice for the athlete.

The AAFI has also decided to challenge the reports of the Asian Games doping laboratory since there were “major discrepancies” in the results and was prepared to send the athlete’s urine samples to any other IOC-accredited lab to prove her innocence.

“Sunita Rani being guilty of doping is ruled out at this stage. We have examined the inquiry report carefully and endorsed it,” AAFI president Suresh Kalmadi told a press conference here. He said the one-man Sushil Salwan committee’s report had found “discrepancies and irregularaties” in Sunita Rani’s doping results after the 1500m event of the Busan Asian Games and the labs had “failed the test of standards.”

Kalmadi said Sunita’s B-sample taken in Patiala on September 30, before the athletic contingent left for Busan, which is now with the Sports Authority of India (SAI) will be sent for testing to an IOC-accredited lab.

The Salwan committee has submitted a 200-page report to the AAFI. Kalmadi said Salwan had recommended that AAFI request IAAF to conduct a fresh test of Sunita’s B sample which was taken in Patiala on September 30 before she left for Busan. Her A sample was negative.

Salwan said Sunita “will still have to clear a few tests recommended by me to be fully absolved of the charges. For starters, her appeal at the IAAF will have to be entertained,” he said.

Salwan said he had consulted various experts abroad on different aspects of the case before finalising his report. “Most of the experts agreed that there were discrepancies in the test results. The difference in the amount of nandrolone in the A and B samples (21 ng/ml and 6 ng/ml) is unacceptably large,” Salwan said.

“The reason given for the difference between A and B by the director of the Busan lab appears far too simplistic,” he said. “It stated that the A sample is ‘just to compare the concentration between the sample urine and the known concentration of spiked urine” whereas the B sample is quantified using a calibration curve.”

Salwan reopened the old nandrolone debate, saying: “An extensive research of literature, by analytical bodies as well as by sports related study groups has revealed that nandrolone is a substance that is found not only in normal individuals who have not consumed the prohibited drug, but is also found in a wide variety of naturally occurring herbal substances such as certain types of tea, ginseng, etc.

“Moreover, it is reported that the body may naturally create a form of nandrolone if one ate very large quantities of meat. Also, certain legally accepted dietary supplements may be broken down by individual metabolisms to produce the same substances created when nandrolone is broken down (norandrosterone and other metabolites),” the report said.

Qoting Dr David Black, director of Aegis Labs, US, the report said: “Approximately 20 per cent of food supplement products available over the counter are contaminated with percurson chemicals that are bio-transferred to 19 nonandrosterone in the body, thus resulting in a positive urine test,” he quoted.Salwan aso came down heavily on the SAI for not sending the B sample to an IOC accredited laboratory. He said it was “unfortunate” that the sample was not sent to any ISO 17025 accredited IOC lab. The B sample is now kept at 20 degree celsius at the Delhi lab.

Salwan’s report said: “The commission felt that since random testing is not done frequently, it is felt that SAI and the federations are not serious for the control of dope. There is some basic errors in the whole procedure,” he said, pointing out that there are no dates in the computer printout submitted by the doping control centre, Kist, Korea. He said: “No athlete would take a banned substance just before an international meet.”

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