NSC decides to test Bhandari’s B sample

Kathmandu, September 25:

National Sports Council (NSC) today decided to go for the sample ‘B’ test of Rajendra Bhandari following the preliminary investigation report of the seven-member probe committee headed by NSC vice president Sitaram Maskey.

Bhandari’s ‘A’ sample tested positive after the athlete won double gold medals at the 10th South Asian Games held last month in Colombo.

The NSC formed the committee under Maskey after receiving the analysis report which said the Nepali Army athlete tested positive for banned drug Norandrosterone. Bhandari has been denying of using any performance enhancing banned substances.

“After reviewing the preliminary findings by the committee, we are moving forward to defend his (Bhandari) medals,” said NSC member secretary Jeewan Ram Shrestha.

Shrestha also said that he had personally talked with Bhandari. “We also found a kind of confidence in him. So we decided to take further steps and we are going for the test of ‘B’ sample, he added. “It is a matter of the national interest and we will do each and everything in our authority to prove his innocence,” Shrestha said.

According to Shrestha, the council has also taken Bhandari’s signature for the sample ‘B’ sample analysis.

On the issue of willingness of SRL Ranbaxy — who helped Indian athlete Sunita Rani after she tested positive at the 14th Asiad — to help Bhandari, Shrestha said that council would follow the legal procedures as a starter. “First of all, we will go for the sample ‘B’ test through Nepal Olympic Committee (NOC).”

Meanwhile, the NOC expressed its commitment to defend Bhandari. “It’s our responsibility to defend the medals,” NOC said. The NOC also appealed all to create proper environment so that it could coordinate with NSC and the government to secure the medals.

The Nepal National and International Players’ Association also showed its solidarity towards Bhandari. “This is a matter of national pride and we demand strong lobbying from the Nepal Government to save Bhandari,” said NNIPA.

German Embassy concerned

KATHMANDU: A team of German Embassy in Kathmandu on Monday visited the National Sports Council (NSC) after the Embassy received reports that some NSC officials were attempting to search the office of Nepal-German Athletics Development Project.

“We heard some people were trying to open our office, so we are here,” Andrea Arslan, legal expert at the German Embassy, told reporters after a meeting with NSC vice-president Sita Ram Maskey.

The drama began when the NSC investigation committee — which is probing Rajendra Bhandari’s involvement in doping — asked athletics coach Sushil Narshing Rana, the caretaker of the project at the moment, to open the project office on Sunday. Rana instead informed the Embassy. “It’s my duty to inform the embassy,” Rana said.

“We have goods worth more than Euro 4,000 and we are concerned about out property,” said Arslan. “We came here to know the facts but nobody here responded to us properly,” Arslan said.

The NSC locked down the main gate of the project office three weeks ago citing controversies between the athletics associations. Gunter Lange, director of the project, was also sent back to Germany following the controversy. — HNS