Friday, Aug 20, 2004
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By Our Special Correspondent
ATHENS, AUG. 19. Pratima Kumari has been provisionally suspended by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) following an "adverse analytical finding'' of the dope test.
This was announced in a release by the IWF, which also stated that four other lifters Wafa Ammouri of Morocco, Viktor Chislean of Moldova, Zoltan Kecskes of Hungary and Sule Sahbaz of Turkey were to be suspended under the IWF anti-doping policy.
As in the last three Olympic Games in Barcelona, Atlanta and Sydney, the IWF had subjected all the 260 lifters qualified for the Olympics to an out-of-competition doping control prior to the start of the competition here.
The suspension has been communicated to the International Olympic Committee, and further details are expected to be disclosed by the IWF later.
The Indian team management had said that the 28-year-old Pratima Kumari had withdrawn because of injury, when the media probed the subject on Wednesday evening, following the withdrawal by Karnam Malleswari after she had just about touched the iron-bar for her first lift and signed off in a hurry.
Like Malleswari, Pratima Kumari was also scheduled to compete in the 63 kg category, but did not figure in the competition list because the suspension had already been slapped on her, and not because she was injured, as claimed by the Indian team.
Addressing a press conference here today, the deputy Chef de Mission of the Indian contingent, Harish Sharma, said the IWF informed the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) about the positive test of Pratima Kumari for testosterone on August 16 itself.
The tests, conducted on August 12, also found Nan Aye Khine of Myanmar, who had finished fourth in the 48 kg category, positive. The Myanmar lifter was disqualified and her Olympic identification and accreditation cards were taken away.
Stating that the rules did not permit anybody, except the international body, to make the first announcement on such matters, Harish Sharma disclosed that Pratima Kumari left for India on August 16, complaining of back pain.
The letter for a two-year suspension for Pratima Kumari had reportedly been served to the national Olympic committee. Though the suspension may be for two years only, anyone found positive during the Olympics cannot take part in the next Olympics to be held in Beijing, China.
Meanwhile, Karnam Malleswari has confirmed that she was pulled out of the competition because of back injury. She said that the pain had been there for sometime, but at the Bangalore camp a lot of attention was paid towards that. In fact an MRI scan had also been taken before she left for Belarus for training.
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