Dope Test - Ashwini Blames Food Supplements Provided by Coach
Daijiword Media Network – New Delhi (SP)
New Delhi, Jul 7: Aswini Akkunji from Udupi district, whose rise in the field of national and international athletics has been meteoric, now feels that consumption of food supplements supplied to her and other athletes by athletics coach, Yuri Ogorodnik, would have been the reason for the failed dope test. She claims she was unaware about the contents of the food, and that she is innocent as far as consumption of performance-enhancing drugs is concerned.
“Stock of food supplements in National Institute of Sports in Patiala had been exhausted. Hence, we consumed the supplements provided by Ogorodnik and other coaches at the camp. We have been consuming food supplements since May 10, and one of the food supplements was in the form of tablets, which was given by coach, Yuri Ogorodnik himself. Three other food supplements were bought by us on the recommendations of the Indian coaches at the camp. This was the first time we had to buy food supplements on our own,” Ashwini, who won gold medals for India in both Commonwealth and Asian Games, said.
Other middle distance runners like Mandeep Kaur, Jauna Murmu, Sini Jose, Tiana Marie Thomas and Priyanka Panwar, have also failed the dope test, as traces of anabolic steroids were found in their samples. These athletes stand suspended till investigation is completed, and coach Ogorodnik has already been dismissed. The activities of Indian coaches, Ramesh Nagpuri, and R S Sidhu, who are in charge of training athletes participating in women’s 400 metres race, 400 metres hurdles and 4x400 metres relay team, as well as three other Sports Authority of India officials including two women of Elite Sports Ladies Hostel, were dismissed on Wednesday, relating to the controversy..
Ashwini says that she and other athletes were happy about the food supplements provided to them before the Commonwealth and Asian Games. However, once they returned from Guangzhou, they found that the institute did not have stock of food supplements, and that they had to buy them on the recommendation of coaches, on their own. “It would be impossible to prove our innocence if this issue is not properly investigated and tests are conducted on these foods. We did not have any experts to advise us on this matter. We did not know what did these food supplements contained,” Ashwini clarified.
It is learnt that Ogorodnik was not in contact with the athletes for a few months after Asian Games because of belated renewal of his contract, and that the first thing he did after reporting at the camp was to express dissatisfaction at the drop in the levels of physical fitness of athletes. He also was angry at Mandeep Kaur, Manjit Kaur, and Sini Jose for not continuing with their practice during the post-Asian Games days. He told the athletes that the Commonwealth and Asian Games were backed by a training regimen of 18 months, and that the level of competition will be tougher in Olympics, and hence at least five months of rigorous training was required to raise the bars.
The coach already has denied his involvement with supplying steroids to the athletes. “I only brought medals for India, not drugs,” he claimed.
Coach of the women athletes, R S Sidhu, has substantiated Ashwini’s statement by confirming that the athletes were forced to buy their food supplements from elsewhere, as there was no stock of the supplements at the camp.