Two Indian weightlifters face doping charges
MELBOURNE, Australia -- Indian weightlifters Edwin Raju and Tajinder Singh tested positive for a banned steroid, and will be the subject of a hearing this weekend in Melbourne, the Court of Arbitration for Sport announced Friday.
If the doping charges are upheld, the weightlifters face a two-year ban imposed by the CAS and a lifetime ban from the Indian weightlifting federation. The Indian federation also faces a ban of up to five years from international weightlifting competition.
Raju and Singh both tested for the performance-enhancing drug, stanozolol.
The CAS will hold a hearing Saturday and expects to release its findings Sunday, the last day of the Commonwealth Games.
Earlier Friday, Commonwealth Games Federation president Mike Fennell said he could not release the names of the athletes until the ruling by CAS, despite Indian team officials identifying the athletes to The Associated Press.
Raju finished fourth in the men's 56-kilogram class at the games and Singh withdrew from the men's 85-kilogram division Monday, saying that he was ill.
The pair failed out-of-competition tests conducted in Melbourne on March 11, four days before the Commonwealth Games began.
"If any athlete is found positive in an international competition they will be subject to a life ban," said H.J. Dora, head of the Indian weightlifting federation. "We are determined to ensure that the testing process is fully scrutinized as the athletes in question have been subject to three rounds of dope testing in the past month, which have all been negative."
Under the rules of the International Weightlifting Federation, a country that has three positive test results within one year faces automatic bans and/or fines.
India is competing in its first major weightlifting competition since serving a one-year ban for doping cases in 2004, and the punishments are expected to be higher this time.
India already has one strike against it after 2002 Commonwealth Games gold medalist Shailaja Pujari tested positive for a banned substance at a training camp last month.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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