Sad inalienable truth of Indian sports doping
IN life there are certain inalienable truths, death, taxes and Indian wrestlers and weightlifters failing doping tests - usually followed by a flurry of excuses and a volley of legal threats.
TAINTED GOLD: Satheesha Rai won Commonwealth Games gold eight years ago but was stripped of his title after failing a doping test. Many more have followed and four Indian wrestler have now joined the cast of shame (Reuters)
No sports in no country have such a pitiful record when it comes to combating doping.
And yet here we are, on the eve of another Commonwealth Games and the sad script is being repeated all over again.
Officials from both sports make the dodgy doctors and shady soigneurs that once polluted every team car in cycling's peloton look like Doogie Howser.
Indian lifters have only just been cleared to compete in Delhi after their hapless association, the Indian Weightlifting Federation, failed to pay a $500,000 fine levied by the world governing body after six of their athletes failed drugs tests last year.
In the end Games organisers provided a interest-free loan to bridge a short-fall of just under $400,000.
It's eight years since the then Indian sports minister declared two prominent doping failures at the Manchester Commonwealth Games - including gold medallist Satheesha Rai - as a 'stain on India' - and it seems we are all just eight years older.
And today four wrestlers were axed from the Indian squad after testing positive for banned stimulant methylhexaneamine, a commonly used nasal decongestant.
It's the same substance that controversially caught out four Jamaican sprinters before last year's World Athletics Championships and was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency's prohibited list this year.
Officials expect to carry out 1,500 tests during next month's Games - a sizeable increase on Melbourne four years ago.
More than 450 doping control officers are now being trained, although some concern has been privately expressed about how sterile the doping control centres will be in each venue, claims organisers have dismissed as 'nonsense'.
Tests will be analysed at the WADA accredited laboratory in Delhi and don't expect them to have nothing to report.
UPDATE 5/9/10: Just a couple of days on and more positives - this time swimmers. Fair play to India's anti-doping officials, they are certainly doing their job.
MORE BLOGS BY SPORTSBEAT'S JAMES TONEY