Lucknow: In an unprecedented incident at Lucknow’s Sports Authority of India (SAI) center, three weightlifters, including a national-level medallist, have been found guilty of using banned substances. The athletes, one of whom is a female athlete, have been suspended and debarred from the SAI campus.
The three weightlifters had been under the internal surveillance of the SAI center’s team for four to five months due to their involvement in suspicious activities. One of the lifters was even observed by a security guard catching a packet of banned substances thrown over the boundary into the campus.
The involvement of weightlifters in using banned substances came to light when the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) team found traces of these substances in their blood during a test conducted last month.
Following the NADA report, the SAI has taken immediate action by suspending and debarred all three lifters from the campus. The executive director of SAI’s Lucknow center, Sanjay Saraswat, mentioned that the internal committee had already raised suspicions about these athletes, which were later confirmed through routine checks on items they carried back from their weekly outings.
According to Saraswat, one female weightlifter received the banned substance packet from her fiancé, who is accused of supplying doping substances to sportspersons in the state capital. The two male lifters received the banned substance through a courier.
The SAI is implementing strict measures to curb doping, including routine checks of the belongings of all 169 athletes under the National Centre of Excellence. Additionally, weekly classes on anti-doping campaigns are being conducted to educate coaches and athletes about the consequences of doping and the importance of fair play in sports.