‘Lange chief culprit in Bhandari doping case’

Kathmandu, November 23:

The probe committee formed to investigate athlete Rajendra Bhandari’s involvement in the doping scandal has found Gunter Lange, director of Nepal German Athletics Development Project, as the main culprit and coaches duo Sushil Nurshing Rana and Narayan Pradhan his accomplices.

The report, made public by the National Sports Council today, also found former NSC member secretary Kishor Bahadur Singh’s involvement in the scandal. Singh did not appear before the investigation committee. “Rana and Pradhan gave the banned drugs to Bhandari knowingly under Lange’s instructions,” said the report. “Singh was also found to be involved in the process as a mute supporter,” the report stated.

NSC member secretary Jeevan Ram Shrestha said that the council was unable to take actions against Lange and Singh as they were not under the grip of the sports supreme body.

“We are not recommending any action against Gunter Lange as we don’t want to dampen the diplomatic relations with Germany as we heavily rely on foreign assistance for the development of sports,” said Shrestha. “We have, however, informed our findings to the German Embassy,” he added. Lange was sent back to Germany after the controversy between the two athletics associations following Shrestha’s appointment to the NSC.

Shrestha also said that the NSC would recommend the Nepal government to take action against former member secretary Singh as he was nominated by the government. “We will write to the Nepal government to take action against Singh,” he said.

“We can take actions against Rana and Pradhan and we have already asked them to submit their clarification,” he said. “After studying their clarification, we will determine what action would be appropriate to them,” he added.

Regarding Bhandari, the council has instructed the Nepal Amateur Athletics Association to negotiate with the international body to reduce his ban. “As he did not take the drugs knowingly, we have instructed the athletics association to try to reduce his ban,” said Shrestha.

The NSC had formed a seven-member committee under its vice president Sita Ram Maskey after the 10th South Asian Games double gold medallist Bhandari tested positive. Bhandari also tested positive in the ‘B’ sample after the athlete denied using of any banned substances during or before the event held in Sri Lanka from August 18-28.