13th October, 2010
In what has become almost inevitable at multi-sports events, Commonwealth GamesÂ Federation president Mike Fennell announced the first doping case of the New Delhi Games,Â saying Osayomi Oludamola Women 100m and Samuel Okon 110 hurdles of Nigeria testedÂ positive for the banned stimulant Methylexanemine and could be stripped of her gold medalÂ in the 100m.
The New Delhi event has been plagued by problems with ticketing, near-empty stadiums,Â construction delays and filthy conditions in the athletesâ€™ village before the gamesÂ began.
More than 900 doping tests have been conducted since the games open on 3 October, FennellÂ said, and so far Oludamola had returned the only positive.
Fennell said Oludamola has been notified of the adverse finding and had requested theÂ testing of the â€œBâ€ sample.
A Federal Court hearing involving Fennell, lawyers and World Anti-Doping Agency observersÂ later ruled that the provisional suspension would continue until the â€œBâ€ sample resultsÂ are received in New Delhi, the CGF said in a statement on TimesofIndia.
â€œIf the allegations are true itâ€™s most unfortunate for us,â€ Nigeriaâ€™s chef de missionÂ Elias Gora said. â€œIâ€™m disappointed and Iâ€™m sure people back home will also beÂ disappointed, too.â€
The World Anti-Doping Agency recently loosened the classification of Methylexanemine forÂ next year to the â€œspecified stimulantâ€ list, which covers drugs that are more susceptibleÂ to inadvertent use and can carry reduced penalties.
The womenâ€™s 100m has led to a lot of confusion in New Delhi.
Sally Pearson, the Olympic hurdles silver medalist, thought she had won the 100m raceÂ last week, but hours after crossing the line first she was disqualified for a previousÂ false start.
Pearson finally got a Commonwealth Games, though, winning the 100m hurdles on Monday.
This time, there was no question. She got off fast and led for the entire race, finishingÂ in a games record of 12.67 seconds at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
â€œIt has been a horrible week because of the disqualification,â€ Pearson said. â€œI am justÂ relieved and I am just happy now. I did not even have to look, I just knew I had won theÂ gold.â€
Stayaway big names and small crowds have sometimes made the Delhi athletics look like anÂ obscure, late-season meeting but some 45 000 fans raised the roof at the Jawaharlal NehruÂ Stadium when Poonia ended the 52-year wait for an athletics title.
â€œItâ€™s amazing,â€ she said, after also leading her countryâ€™s first athletics podium sweep.
â€œI dedicate this medal to all the Indians. With this I think we wiped out everything badÂ that was happening before the Games and came out united.â€
A cascade of gold medals for the host nation has already helped in the domestic battle toÂ gloss over the embarrassment of the calamitous preparations for the Games and continuingÂ organisational blunders.
There was even a smattering of applause for chief local organiser Suresh Kalmadi when heÂ presented the trio of Indians with their medals, eight days after he was booed at theÂ opening ceremony.
Kalmadi has borne the brunt of public rage for the rash of problems that have beset theÂ Games for 71 mostly former British colonies, turning what India had hoped would be aÂ display of soft power into a public relations disaster.
Pooniaâ€™s achievement would have been unlikely had Australiaâ€™s world champion Dani SamuelsÂ not been one of several athletes who pulled out of the Games through safety fears,Â however.
Several more top athletes, including world and Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt,Â skipped the event for scheduling reasons and Steve Hooker gave an insight into why afterÂ winning the pole vault in a modest 5.60 metres.
â€œOne of the reasons itâ€™s been such a tough year is Iâ€™ve always had the Commonwealth GamesÂ in the back of my mind. A championship in October is a real challenge,â€ said theÂ Australian, also a world and Olympic champion.
Hookerâ€™s gold helped Australia to move to 64 golds atop the medal table with hosts IndiaÂ second on 30 just ahead of England (26). Diver Alexandre Despatie won his eighthÂ Commonwealth gold to boost Canada to 23 in fourth.
Moses Kipsiro boosted Ugandaâ€™s gold tally to two by completing the first long-distanceÂ double at a Games for 72 years with a thrilling victory in the 10 000m.
As in his 5 000m victory on the opening night, he won a last-lap sprint to deny KenyaÂ victory. The Kenyans had to be satisfied with a fourth consecutive sweep in the 3 000mÂ steeplechase.
Pearson, who had been disqualified for a false start in last weekâ€™s sprint three hoursÂ after the race, crossed the line to win the 100m hurdles with a huge smile on her faceÂ before collapsing on the track sobbing.
â€œIt was a very difficult week,â€ she said. â€œI tried my best to keep training and keep myÂ focus.â€
Oludamola faces a tense wait to discover the result of a test on her B sample after theÂ first sample showed traces of the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine. An announcement isÂ expected on Wednesday.
With out-of-competition issues constantly overshadowing New Delhi 2010, Fennell said heÂ was uncertain what effect the doping case would have on the games.
â€œAny positive test, whether it is in a high-profile event or not, is something that isÂ very much regretted for a clean games, clean sport and a clean competition,â€ FennellÂ said, adding that no decision had been made on the medals.â€
Most of the Olympic Games this decade have had doping cases. The International OlympicÂ Committee stripped Polandâ€™s cross-country skier Kornelia Marek, who tested positive forÂ EPO, of all her results from the Vancouver Winter Olympics earlier this year, althoughÂ she did not win any medals.
After a French lab devised a test for the advanced blood-booster CERA, the InternationalÂ Olympics Committee retested samples from the 2008 Beijing Games and disqualified fiveÂ athletes for CERA use. There was one positive test during the Turin Games in 2006, withÂ Russian biathlete Olga Pyleva stripped of a silver medal after testing positive for aÂ banned stimulant.
In addition, Italian police raided the lodgings of the Austrian cross-country andÂ biathlon team outside Turin, seizing blood-doping equipment. No Austrian athletes testedÂ positive at the time, but six were later banned by the IOC for involvement in theÂ scandal.
Testing was continuing in New Delhi, with medalists in all events tested and others doneÂ at random.
The games end on Thursday, and street kids will have a chance to see the closingÂ ceremonies. The Delhi government has asked the gamesâ€™ organising committee to reserve 700Â tickets which it will buy.
The tickets will be distributed to 200 children who live and work on the streets of thisÂ city of 12 million. The other 500 will go to students of government schools.