Mumbai, Jul 6: Ace shuttler Saina Nehwal today gave a stunning twist to the raging dope scandal by saying that many athletes and weightlifters had told her in the past that they knowingly consume banned drugs.
“I also know many athletes and weightlifters who themselves tell me that “we take it”,” Saina told reporters during a promotional event for Titan watches here.
India was rocked by doping scandal recently with eight top national athletes who got training in NIS failing dope tests.
There were also reports that banned drugs were widely available in chemist shops near the national institute of Sport in Patiala.
Asked if she was aware about the availability of banned drugs at medical stores, the world number six said, “I don't know whether it is available or not. I don't take it.”
Saina, however, felt that lack of awareness about medicines was the major reason behind athletes testing positive for banned drugs in the country.
“It's really sad they don't know what they are taking. I'm sure everyone knows WADA rules, its very common. They have a website which mentions which medicines are banned and which are not. I think its just that they don't know. Many athletes and weightlifters are not very educated so whatever their coaches give they take that,” she said.
The 21-year-old Hyderabadi said she consults her physiotherapist and doctors before taking any medicine and others too should do the same.
“If I have fever I ask my physio and doctor which medicines can be taken and which are banned. They should be very careful regarding everything,” she said.
Indian athletics had been rocked by a doping scandal in the last few days when CWG and Asian Games gold-winning relay quartet members Mandeep Kaur and Sini Jose as well another quartermiler Jauna Murmu tested positive for a banned substance—methandienone—in out-of-competition tests.
Apart from the trio, another quartermiler Tiana Mary Thomas tested positive for anabolic steroid epimethandiol, while long jumper Hari Krishnan Muralidharan and shot putter Sonia were the other two athletes who have tested positive in the last few days.
The scandal grew in proportion with two more athletes, the country's new golden girl Ashwini Akkunji and another quartermiler Priyanka Panwar, testing positive for the same anabolic steroid—methandienone, hours before their departure for Japan for the Asian Championships.
Meanwhile, to a query on Titan brand ambassador Aamir Khan, Saina said, “I interact with him a lot. He sends me messages, congratulates me whenever I win any tournament. Its very kind of him.”
“I don't see him endorsing too many brands but whatever he does, he does it perfectly. I really wish he was here (for the event).”
The former world number two also wished Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on his 30th birthday tomorrow.
“He's achieved everything. He is a world champion. So what else...I wish him many more successes ahead,” the ace shuttler said. PTI