New Delhi, July 7 : India's dope tainted quartermiler Ashwini Akkunji, who won 4x400 metres relay gold in the Commonwealth and the Asian Games, Thursday pleaded innocence and laid the blame squarely on the food supplements, which she said were recommended by sacked Ukrainian coach Yuri Ogorodnik.
"I am innocent and have never failed a dope test before this. We only took the food supplements recommended by our coach and only after consuming the supplements, we have been tested positive," said Aswhini, who also won gold in the 400 metres hurdles at the Asian Games.
Ashiwni Thursday appeared before the National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) for her B sample test. She tested positive for banned anabolic steroid methandienone in tests conducted by the NADA during the Inter State Athletics Championships in Bangalore last month.
"It's sad since I made many sacrifices during my career. I have never taken steroids in my entire career. It's not the first time that I have given the dope test. Whenever NADA or WADA (World Anti Doping Agency) had called me, I have given the tests," she said.
Ashwini said she was tested thrice during the Asian Games, where she won two gold medals, but never failed.
"During the Asian Games, three times we have been called for dope tests and we never failed it. This thing has never happened before. It's really sad that all this has happened to us. We are totally innocent," she added.
Ashiwni said eight athletes failing dope test is a big set-back for Indian athletics. The 4x400 metres relay team was seen as a medal prospect in the 2012 London Games but after three runners Mandeep Kaur, Sini Jose and Ashwini flunked the dope tests, all hopes have been dashed. All three had tested positive for methandienone.
"It's really sad that with Olympic Games next year, this dope scandal has happened. But we will continue our preparation. We will continue with our practice." (IANS)
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