Rio-bound shot-putter Inderjeet flunks dope test, claims sabotage
New Delhi, July 26 (IANS) After wrestler Narsingh Yadav, India's prospects at the Rio Olympics were dealt another major blow on Tuesday when it transpired that shot-putter Inderjeet Singh has flunked a dope test.
Inderjeet, a bronze medallist in the 2014 Incheon Asian Games, was the first Indian track and field athlete to qualify for the upcoming summer Games starting August 5.
According to sources, the 28-year-old Inderjeet's out-of-competition test was done on June 22. He was found positive for two banned substances androsterone and etiocholanolone.
The National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) has asked Inderjeet Singh to get his 'B' sample tested immediately as time for Rio Olympics is running out. The reigning Asian champion will have to get his 'B' sample tested within the next seven days.
If his 'B' sample also tests positive, he will miss the bus to Rio, reducing the Indian contingent further to 118. According to the new rules of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), Inderjeet also faces the prospect of a four-year ban besides missing the Rio Olympics.
Inderjeet, however, claimed innocence and said it was a conspiracy against him.
"This is a serious conspiracy against me. Why would someone do such silly things just before the Olympics," he told IANS over phone.
Inderjeet claimed that since he has always been outspoken against the apathy that Indian athletes face from the government and the various sports federations, he is being targetted and his voice is being supressed.
"My sample has been tampered with, this is an atempt to frame me. I had a chance to win a medal and probably some people thought that it will make me a bigger name in Indian sports and then I will create more problems for them. NADA has tested me around five times in recent months and I have always been cleared," he said.
NADA Director General Naveen Agarwal asserted that several Indian spotrpersons have tested positive for banned substances in recent days, and of them only two -- Inderjeet and wrestler Narsingh Yadav -- are part of the Indian Olympic contingent.
"No other Rio-bound athlete has tested positive but there are many other athletes who have tested positive," Agarwal told a news channel.
Agarwal, who refrained from naming Inderjeet, said track and field athletes are more vulnerable to steroid abuse and the NADA continues to test them regularly as a precautionary measure.
"Compared to other athletes, track and field athletes are more prone to doping violations. We usually keep testing all the athletes so that they can pay attention," he added.
"One athlete's 'A' sample tested positive, some more results are yet to come. Late last evening he was given notice about that. I can't disclose the name of the athlete and can't rule out whether he is going to Rio or not. It will be clear once his 'B' sample is tested and it is negative," he added.
The NADA chief, however, denied Inderjeet's claims that he has been tested five times in recent months.
"In one of the tests in May, he tested negative, but he skipped a test in June. He was twice tested out of competition and whenever there is a competition he has been tested," Agarwal said.
"It takes maximum of a week's time for 'B' sample testing. But we have to give them a fair trial."