Union Sports Minister Ajay Maken yesterday took exception to dope-tainted athletes training at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre in Sonepat and said they were not funded by the government. Terming it "serious", he promised to inquire into the matter.
Despite one-year suspensions handed to some athletes -- Ashwini Akkunji, Mandeep Kaur, Sini Jose, Jauna Murmu, Priyanka Panwar and Tiana Mary Thomas -- in December last year for doping, they have been found to be training at SAI Centre for some time now, which is in violation to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code.
But Maken assured that the Ministry would look into the matter. "We are inquiring into it as to how these girls went in there. As far as the government is concerned, there was no involvement and no fund was given. How they (tainted athletes) are there (in SAI Sonepat) is a subject to inquiry," said Maken.
Serious matter "This is a serious matter and we are looking into it," he added. The WADA in its code makes the status of athletes during ineligibility period clear. Hence, it came as a surprise that it was through the assistance of SAI that these tainted athletes are being provided training and accommodation.