Indian weightlifter Monika Devi DQed following positive doping test. (NDTV) This repeats a pattern of doping in Indian lifters. Update: Devi denies doping including this statement: “Forget life ban, give me public execution if I am dope cheat”
In a blow to the Indian contingent at the Beijing Olympics, weightlifter Monika Devi has tested positive for steroids and has been withdrawn from the Games.
Monika, who was the lone Indian lifter in the 56-strong contingent, tested positive before her departure to Beijing.
Monika's selection for the Olympics had been a controversial one amidst allegations of bribery in the selection process. She had beaten Shailaja Pujari to the spot in the 69 kg category.
There is good news and there is bad news:
Perhaps, the silver lining in the latest doping scandal to hit India is that the athlete was not disgraced in front of the world, and was withdrawn before the Games.
Interestingly, Shailaja's performance in the trials had been better than Monika's.
Here is the bad news, the replacement lifter was a doper too:
Shailaja (75kg) lifted a total of 236kg (106kg snatch+ 130 clean and jerk) at the repeat selection trials which should have placed her seventh in the latest rankings while Monika's (69kg) lift of 224kg (101+123) ranks 15th.
"I lifted 236kg, 12 kg more than Monika, and my total is seventh in latest world rankings and naturally I have more chance to perform better than her in the Olympics. I am not being able to digest why I was not selected," Shailaja had said last month.
Shailaja had been earlier banned for two years after she failed a dope test ahead of the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006.
More on Indian doping after the jump
Devi's failed doping test is the fourth by an Indian weightlifter since May.
Junior male weightlifter Harpreet Singh testing positive for the banned steroid nandrolone last month, while Kavita Devi and Paritosh Upadhyay failed doping tests in May.
Kavita Devi was sent back from the Asian women's championship in Japan after the Weightlifting Federation of India was informed of her positive doping test result by WADA, which had collected an out-of-competition sample.
Upadhyay tested positive in an out-of-competition test conducted by the Sports Authority of India, which also caught Singh during his training program.
Repeated doping violations by Indian weightlifters have led India to be banned twice from international competitions since the 2004 Olympics in Athens.