The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Laxmiís allegations preposterous
Jyotirmoyee Sikdar

I fail to understand how Andhra Pradesh athlete Uday Laxmi has been accusing officials of her state of ďforcing athletes to take drugs.Ē Thatís stretching it a bit too far, isnít it' Iím not saying that all dope test facilities around the world are foolproof. If there could have been a problem in Korea, at the Asian Games ó a problem that falsely indicted Sunita Rani ó there can be problems anywhere. But saying that the state bodies push you into doing this is pretty stupid.

I have never seen anything like this happen in, say at the Amateur Athletic Association, West Bengal. Nobody has ever said a thing to me, at least. And even if they did, why would I have to listen to them' Donít I have a mind of my own'

Each athlete in any IOA camp is given a small diary that has the names of all the drugs that have been banned by the IOC. You are supposed to read this carefully and follow it, avoid all that has to be avoided, like certain cough syrups. Sometimes it is this diary that tends to create the problem. Athletes get to know the names of the drugs they never knew existed and then they might want to try it out on their own. And then starts the real problem. The diary does not mention the after-effects of the particular drug, and neither does it mention how the IOC is dealing with it.

In a way itís good that 22 athletes have been identified and itís good that so many have been banned. It will warn the rest from unnecessary adventurism. It should also warn the athletes from talking through their hats. I also read about the allegation that \ are now being openly sold just outside the SAI Patiala. Thatís for me a trifle difficult to believe. I havenít ever seen anything like this before.

Also, how does she know about all these Ďsourcesí of drugs' How is she so sure' Makes me look at her statements in a new angle. Makes me look at her again. Golds in 400m hurdles and 4x400m relay, apart from a bronze in 400m, and you are saying you just did it because somebody said itís okay' Itís preposterous.

Doping, though, is surely a problem. I read this thing about the great Carl Lewis, and I donít know what to believe. Iím definitely not even trying to hazard a guess about that man. He is so far ahead and above me that I cannot think coherently about what happened there.

But in India, for our own satisfaction, we should be back to the days I have seen, when dope tests used to be done at every given opportunity, at every meet, and then a little more. It is a question of my countryís glory. Itís a bigger picture we are looking at.

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