Take extra care
Athlete Rajendra Bhandari after testing positive in the ‘B’ sample test analysis is all set to be stripped of the two gold medals he bagged at the 10th South Asian Games in Sri Lanka this August. The National Sports Council (NSC) and Nepal Olympic Committee (NOC) have stated that ‘B’ sample tests conducted in Malaysia showed the same results as the ‘A’ sample that contained 19-Norandrosterone greater than the threshold of 2ng/ml. Bhandari had earned the distinction of becoming the first Nepali to win two golds in the 5,000m and 3,000m steeplechase.
Good Health Medical Services Pvt. Ltd., the authorised agent of the Mumbai-based SRL Ranbaxy Clinical Reference Laboratories in Nepal, has asked its head office to send the details of Bhandari’s samples for further tests. There are examples where sports persons have regained their medals after having been wrongly stripped of them. One example relates to Indian athlete Sunita Rani who regained her two medals she had grabbed at the 14th Asian Games at Busan in 2002. SRL Ranbaxy had come to Rani’s rescue and has expressed willingness to help Bhandari, too. There have also been examples where sportsmen were found to have a high hormone level not owing to intake of any performance-enhancing drug but naturally in their system. It would, thus, be fair to investigate the matter further and give a final verdict only after foolproof results are obtained. Lastly, the sports authorities will do well to learn the lesson that they should take extra care to prevent cases like Bhandari’s in future.