Jamshedpur, June 28: Five hundred powerlifters, scores of syringes and empty vials.
Officials of the Indian Powerlifting Federation today began the unenviable job of tracking down lifters who might have taken banned performance-enhancing drugs, after syringes and vials were found strewn in the gallery of the JRD Tata Sports Complex, the venue of the ongoing sub-junior national powerlifting meet.
Sources said the officials spent most of the day discussing what steps to take following the discovery that some of the lifters may have used Duraboline, a banned substance, and Eldervit-12, a vitamin which some lifters thought will help deflect possible questions.
The sources said the officials have started an internal inquiry to find out how the syringes and vials were smuggled inside the venue. However, a preliminary inquiry could not establish how the syringes and the drugs were brought into the complex.
“It is possible that the syringes and vials were thrown into the gallery by enemies of some of the lifters,” said official Ramesh Chandra Joshi.
“But it is very difficult to establish the identity of the errant lifters or to check the belongings of each and every participant. We cannot conduct a search on each of the 500-odd participants,” Joshi added.
Federation general secretary Subrata Dutta refused comment. “Don’t ask me any questions. I have nothing to comment,” he said.
The embarrassment was also evident on the faces of other senior officials of the federation.
“It is indeed embarrassing,” a senior official of Jharkhand’s sports department said.
“I have never come across such blatant use of banned substances here. I think such meets should held under stricter scrutiny in the city which is the sports capital of both Jharkhand and Bihar,” the official added.
According to insiders in the federation, officials also deliberated on the process of testing whether a lifter had taken performance-enhancing drugs.
“It (the discovery of the vials and syringes) has forced us to think about changing the whole pattern of sample collection. It is possible that urine samples of more lifters could be collected during powerlifting meets to be tested at a later stage,” said an official.
However, implementing the plan is difficult, to say the least. “It is mandatory to collect samples of lifters who have created records. Besides, samples are also collected at random. But spreading the network of sample collection would not be an easy job. It would also not be economically viable. But some positive steps have to be initiated now,” said a source.
As of now, volunteers have been posted to keep watch on the movement of participating lifters towards the gallery.
A thorough search was also conducted in toilets and bathrooms of the residential wing.