Bhandari appears before investigation committee

Kathmandu, September 23 :

Athlete Rajendra Bhandari said that he was surprised for being tested positive for the banned drugs during the last month’s 10th South Asian Games held in Sri Lanka.

“I was surprised by the news,” Bhandari, who won 5,000m race with the SAG record of 14 minutes 01.19 seconds and 3,000m steeplechase with the national record of 8 minutes 51.76 seconds, told reporters after appearing before the probe commission.

The National Sports Council formed the committee under its vice president Sitaram Maskey after receiving the analysis report which said the Nepali Army athlete tested positive for banned drug.

“I haven’t taken any performance-enhancing drugs,” Bhandari said. Asked about the possibilities of using any drug unknowingly, Bhandari said that he had consumed only prescribed medicines. “I had been using vitamins and calciums after consultation with medical team,” he said.

Bhandari, gold medallist in the Asian All Star Athletics Championship in Singapore in 2004, demanded for the test of ‘B’ sample in his presence. “I am confident of bettering the records by 30 seconds than I did in Colombo if the authorities want me to prove my calibre,” he said. “I set SAG record in 5,000m which was three seconds better than my previous record while I bettered six seconds in 3,000m steeplechase. After the gruelling training of two years, it’s natural for me to better the timings,” he said.

“By using the diets prescribed by any authority for the next six months under their supervision, I am confident of bettering the records I set in Colombo by 30 seconds,” he challenged. Bhandari was worried about his future. “If the ‘B’ sample tests positive, the international body will impose ban on me and I will be finished,” he lamented.

According to the analysis report, Bhandari’s sample was found to contain 19-Norandrosterone greater than the threshold of 2mg/ml.

Farcical probe committee :

KATHMANDU: Sitaram Maskey, convenor of the seven-member probe committee, formed to investigate Rajendra Bhandari’s doping scandle, denied to give details after the athlete appeared before the committee today.

“We have started the preliminary investigations into the case and I am unable to give the details as this is the first such case and we are trying to do it safely,” Maskey said. Maskey was farcical when journalists asked him the objective of the investigation. “We are trying to find out that,” said the irresponsible Maskey. He also pointed out towards National Sports Council member secretary Jeewan Ram Shrestha to get the answers of the queries. — HNS