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Asiad, CWG gold winner Ashwini, Priyanka also fail dope test

New Delhi: Ashwini Akkunji, who was a revelation at the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games winning three gold medals, has failed the dope test along with another 400-metre runner Priyanka Pawar taking the total number of athletes returning positive to a shocking eight.

Both Ashwini and Priyanka were part of the 4x400m relay squad for the Asian Championships at Kobe from July 7. They have now been dropped from the squad.

Ashwini won the 400m hurdles in the Asian Games and was also part of the victorious 4x400m relay team in the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games last year. Two more members of the famed women’s relay team, Mandeep Kaur and Sini Jose, have already failed the dope test.

The tests on Ashwini and Priyanka were conducted by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) in Patiala June 27.

“It was an out of competition test. They have (Ashwini and Priyanka) tested positive for methandienone,” an official told news agency.

All the eight athletes have tested postive for the same steroid.

“We are sorry to announce that two more athletes have been tested positive in the same salt as the other six athletes. We have received the communication from NADA,” said Athletics Federation of India (AFI) president M.L. Dogra.

“They (Ashwini and Priyanka) were part of the team for the Asian Championships in Kobe but after their failed dope tests, they have been provisionally suspended.”

Mandeep Kaur and another quarter-miler Juana Murmu failed an out-of-competition test by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Wednesday. Mandeep tested positive for methandienone and stanozolol while Juana for methandienone.

A day later, Sini, fellow 400m runner Tiana Mary Thomas, shot-putter Sonia and men’s long jumper Hari Krishnan Muralidharan all tested positive in NADA tests.

Acting president of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) Vijay Kumar Malhotra has already demanded a judicial enquiry into the doping cases. He has also questioned the role of the Sports Authority of India’s (SAI) coaches and trainers in the scandal.

Former athletes have questioned Indian runners being sent to East European countries like Ukraine for training. Ukraine’s Yuri Ogorobonik is the coach of the the 4x400m relay team.

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