‘Bhandari would have escaped’

Kathmandu, January 5:

Vice President of National Sports Council (NSC) and acting President of Nepal Amateur Athletics Association (NAAA) Sita Ram Maskey today said Rajendra Bhandari would not have been caught in doping had Gunter Lange not been ousted as his mentor.

Bhandari had won gold medals in the 1,500m and 5,000m steeple-chase events at the 10th South Asian Games in Colombo in 2006 but was later stripped of the honours after he was caught in doping. Bhandari completed his two-year ban in October last year and also won the Kathmandu International Marathon.

“There is no doubt that Rajendra Bhandari had used the banned substance,” said Maskey while speaking at an interaction programme organised by the United Athletics Sports Family (UASF), Nepal. “Had Lange been there, Bhandari would have never caught in doping,” said Maskey, who was the convenor of the committee formed by the NSC to probe Bhandari’s case.

The committee found Lange — who was the director of the Nepal-German Athletics Long-term Development Project — and two Nepali coaches Sushil Narsing Rana and Narayan Pradhan guilty in the case.

Lange had been providing training to the athletes and coaches here through the project. The NSC verdict infuriated the German authorities and put an end to the project.

The athletes were under the supervision of the project until Jeevan Ram Shrestha replaced Kishor Bahadur Singh as the NSC Member Secretary. Nepali atheletics was in a chaos after the NSC dissolved the Nepal Athletics Association (NAA) headed by Singh and reformed the Nepal Amateur Athletics Association (NAAA) headed by Rukma Shumsher Rana. While the NSC authorised Maskey to look after athletics, Germany pulled out of their project.

“Lange was providing training using various modern techniques and could have easily wiped out any traces of the doping substances from Bhandari’s body had he been allowed to look after the athelete unitl the end,” said Maskey while addressing the interaction programme

“Nepal’s Athletics at Present”.

Meanwhile, veteran athletes and officials Baikuntha Manandhar, Sunil Rajbanshi, Diwakar Lal Amatya, Sushil Narsing Rana and Rajan Khatri also exprerssed their views on various aspects of atheletics.