South Asia

India bans seven athletes for failing doping tests

The 4x400 relay team - (left to right) Ashwini Akunji, Manjeet Kaur, Mandeep Kaur, Sini Jose - celebrate winning India's first Commonwealth track gold since 1958
Image caption Ashwini Akkunji (left), Sini Jose (far right) and Mandeep Kaur (second from right) won Commonwealth golds

India's main anti-doping agency has banned a male long jumper for two years and six women athletes for a year each after they failed dope tests.

Long-jumper Harikrishnan Muralidharan was given his ban late on Friday.

The one-year bans were announced earlier in the day. Three of the women were in the 2010 Commonwealth and Asian Games 4x400m relay team which won gold.

They were suspended in July. Some suggested food supplements might have caused them to test positive.

India's Ukrainian track and field coach Yuri Ogorodnik was sacked after the tests.

Mandeep Kaur, Sini Jose, Ashwini Akkunji were all in the 4x400 relay team. The other runners are Jauna Murmu, Priyanka Panwar and Tiana Mary Thomas.

India's National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) said the bans are effective retroactively from the time the women were suspended.

Another Indian athlete, walker Rani Yadav, tested positive for a banned anabolic agent during last October's Commonwealth Games in Delhi and was suspended. She had finished sixth in the women's 20km.

India performed well in track and field events at the Games, and won only its second gold on the track when the women's 4x400m relay sprinted to victory.

Friday's bans leave the women little chance of qualifying for next year's Olympic Games in London.

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