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The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) President Adille Sumariwalla has welcomed the Sports Ministry's plan to legislate an anti-doping law, saying that coaches who give prohibited drugs to their wards should be handed strong punishment. "I have been advocating that (making an anti-doping law) for some time and now the government wants to make a legislation in that regard. It is a good move," Sumariwalla said. "Action should be taken against coaches, who give drugs to the athletes. Drugs being given to minors, action should be taken under the Juvenile Act, under the Distribution of Prohibited Substances Act. Action should be taken, otherwise they will never stop," he told PTI in an interview. The European athletics body had proposed deletion of world records prior to 2005 because of doping issues. But, Sumariwalla said "there is no easy answer" and the matter will have to be dealt with caution. "We have to study what it is, because it is not that it (doping) is not happening now. It is happening now also, it has now become more sophisticated. So what is wrong or what is right is very difficult to say, we have to study the subject more. We can't say exactly what it is. We need research on the subject," said the AFI president, who is also a member of the powerful IAAF Council. "Earlier it (doping) was more crude, there was no 'whereabouts' (requirements under WADA). Now there is 'whereabouts' but people also have learnt how to cheat the 'whereabouts'.
So, we have to study the whole subject," said the Olympian and former 100m runner. He said the proposal from the European Athletics Association has not reached the IAAF Council. "The matter has not reached the IAAF. It is not on the agenda of the IAAF Council," he said. Sumariwalla also confirmed that the AFI has supported Anju Bobby George's bid to claim the Athens Olympics medal. She has decided to approach the International Olympic Committee to investigate into the long jump results of the 2004 Olympics. Russian athletes Tatyana Lebedeva (gold), Irina Simagina (silver) and Tatyana Kotova (bronze) won the medals but have since failed drugs tests in other competitions held after the Athens Games. Anju, who had finished fifth, said the Russians have not won the medals through clean means and should be stripped of their medals after an investigation. "We (AFI) are putting some material together and let us see how it works. I am hopeful," he said. Regarding a new javelin coach after the abrupt departure of Neeraj Chopra's coach Garry Calvert, he said, "A new coach is ready, we have given the name to the government which I think will clear it soon. A new coach will come and there is no issue. "The earlier coach (Calvert) has not done much, I don't know why he wants the credit of Neeraj getting the world junior record last year. Neeraj was throwing 82.23m during South Asian Games. Then he has this 86.48m in Poland, the world junior record. "We wanted to see more results. We told Calvert to show results during the Asian Championships (in Bhubaneswar in July) and World Championships (in London in August) and we will extend his contract after that. He could have waited for two-three months." Sumariwalla also said his federation has no issues with the sports ministry's recent move to appoint P T Usha and Anju Bobby George as observers of AFI. "It (the move) is good. We are clean and don't do any malpractice. The observers will report it to the government. There is not going to be any interference from these observers and so we have no issues with that.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)