NEW DELHI: Indian race walker Rani Yadav has tested positive for the banned steroid nandrolone, becoming the third person at the Commonwealth Games to be caught doping.
The Commonwealth Games Federation says Yadav, who was sixth in the women’s 20-kilometer walk on Saturday, has been provisionally suspended from the event.
Yadav could be banned for two years if found guilty. Over the previous two days, two Nigerian runners were found to be positive for the banned stimulant Methylhexaneamine, with Osayomi Oludamola later stripped of her gold medal in the women’s 100-meter race. Hurdler Samuel Okon, who did not win a medal, also tested positive.
Commonwealth Games Federation President Mike Fennell said more than 1,300 doping samples had been collected so far at the games.
"Everyone would concede that to have three doping cases of those 1,300 tests is not a bad record," Fennell said. "And two of those have been concluded for substances that are considered by many to be not in the serious area of doping activity, which is stimulants. This new case has not been heard and I would not want to make any comments on that."
The World Anti-Doping Agency recently loosened the classification of Methylhexaneamine for next year to the "specified stimulant" list, which covers drugs that are more susceptible to inadvertent use and can carry reduced penalties. Sanctions for use of the drug can be reduced if athletes can prove they did not intend to enhance performance. Penalties can range from a warning to a two-year ban.
WADA said Methylhexaneamine was sold as a medicine until the early 1970s and has now reappeared in some nutritional supplements and cooking oils.
Nandrolone, however, is a steroid used to enhance performance. The Commonwealth Games seem to have improved their anti-doping efforts after being criticized by WADA following the games in Melbourne four years ago.
India has excelled at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium at this year’s games, and on Tuesday night the country won only its second Commonwealth Games gold medal ever on the track when the women’s 4×400 relay sprinted to victory.
Indians also recorded a sweep of the medals in the women’s discus on Monday.
"It’s unfortunate," organizing committee secretary-general Lalit Bhanot said of the positive result before adding that India’s national anti-doping agency is "very serious about this."
"It sends a message that if people are going to use drugs, they will get caught," Bhanot said.
The CGF said all medal winners have or will be tested at the games, as well as other athletes at random. (AP)