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Last updated: 18 July, 2011 - Published 12:51 GMT
 
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Manju told 'not to appeal' for CWG bid
 

 
 
Manju Wanniarachchi (file photo)
"You played for the country, and winning the Games bid is a bigger victory for the country," was the message from the authorities, says the boxer

Sri Lanka's boxing star whose gold medal from the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games was stripped off on a doping conviction, says he was prevented by the authorities from challenging the decision.

Manju Wanniarachchi alleges the Sri Lanka government told him that an appeal would hinder the country's bid to host the Games.

Sri Lanka's Hambantota compete against Gold Coast in Australia to host 2018 CWG in 2018.

Wanniarachchi's Delhi gold was recently handed over to Welsh boxer Sean McGoldrick after Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) found traces of nandrolone in the Sri Lankan's two urine samples given in October 2010.

Nandrolone is among the banned substances under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) regulations.

But Wanniaarachchi says he was prevented from proving his innocence by Sri Lanka's sports ministry.

"I am unable to file the appeal because authorities believe that other countries may not help Sri Lanka's bid to host 2018 Commonwealth Games when a CGF decision is challenged," he added.

'Completely false'

Sports minister, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, however, denies the accusation.

 Neither the government, nor the ministry exerted pressure on him. The medical report clearly shows that that substance was in his body
 
Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage

"It is completely false," the minister told BBC Sandeshaya.

"Neither the government, nor the ministry exerted pressure on him. The medical report clearly shows that that substance was in his body. I have both the police and medical reports," the minister added.

Wanniarachchi, who insists he did not knowingly take the substance, maintains that the investigation by the CGF was flawed.

"I simply don't believe that such a substance was in my body. I can't imagine what actually happened," he told BBC Sinhala service, Sandeshaya.

"There was a difference between two samples. And there has been a six-hour gap between the time the samples were given and handed over to the CGF officials," says the boxer.

However, Wanniarachchi says that he was urged through his manager and coach to 'stand by the country'.

"You played for the country, and winning the Games bid is a bigger victory for the country," the boxer claims he was told.

'End of the matter'

Senior sports counsel Kalinga Indatissa in a release to the media in May 2011 has said that he would appeal against the CGF decision at sports arbitration court in Geneva.

Hambantota bid for 2018 Games
Sri Lanka's Hambantota compete against Gold Coast in Australia to host 2018 CWG

"The non-availability of a proper chain of custody documents coupled with the fact that the bottle could be opened raises a serious doubt on the integrity of the samples in favour of Mr. Wanniarachchi," Mr Indatissa was quoted in Daily Mirror.

The appeal never went ahead. The BBC could not contact Mr Indatissa despite repeated attempts.

The CGF meanwhile insists that it would not comment on the allegations as the investigation process is now over.

"The reality is it has gone through a process. He had the opportunity to appeal the hearing that was held in Kuala Lampur, in May. He had a time frame to which he could appeal the decision of CGF court through the court of arbitration in sport in accordance with the rules that apply for the game," CGF CEO Michael Hooper told BBC Sinhala service.

Mr Hooper says Wanniarachchi, who later announced his retirement from the game, has chosen not to challenge the CGF decision.

"He made a public statement as to his reasons not to appeal and to retire. And that is the end of the matter as far as we are concerned," Mr Hooper added.

 
 
LOCAL LINKS
Manju loses Commonwealth Gold
08 May, 2011 | Sandeshaya
Sri Lanka challenges boxer's dope test
14 November, 2010 | Sandeshaya
NOC takes Manju's gold medal
24 October, 2010 | Sandeshaya
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