Friday, August 19, 2005


The doping episode of Neelam J Singh has panned out along familiar lines. Firstly, the athlete was caught when she didn't need it for the competition. She put up a dismal performance at Helsinki. Secondly, she pleaded her innocence as soon as she landed in India. It was typical of any sportsperson found caught cheating.

In the last couple of years, there has been a spurt in the number of Indian athletes caught with some illegal substances in their bodies. This is not to say that doping is a new problem. This has existed in some form. Even at the junior level, the athletes are given 'tablets' to improve their performance. They are not caught because of the lack of adequate and honest testing procedures.

Always athletes who do well in international competitions fade away after coming back to the country. Most of the recent national record holders have been found guilty of cheating. The recourse to drugs is the personal gain from a medal or a record and the lack of any punishment. Take the case of Sunita Rani who had her Asian Games medal taken away after the involvement in doping at Busan. She got her medal back on technical grounds. The people in charge of running the show in India such as Suresh Kalmadi proclaimed it as a national victory. Now where is the said athlete? She was in the wilderness for quite a while before participating once again. Her performance was well below her personal best.

There is doping in Indian athletics and one cannot deny it. It will not go away until we have people like Kalmadi at the helm. Any one found guilty should be punished.

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