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Sri Lanka take away boxer’s gold

[AFP, Monday, 25 October 2010 12:14 No Comment]

Sri Lankan sports chiefs on Monday confiscated the gold medal won by boxer Manju Wanniarachchi at this month’s Commonwealth Games and gave him two weeks to answer doping charges.

Wanniarachchi, 30, Sri Lanka’s only gold winner at the Games, tested positive for the performance-enhancing steroid nandrolone, according to a report sent to Colombo over the weekend by organisers of the New Delhi Games.

"We have taken his medal into our custody pending the completion of inquiries," National Olympic Committee chairman Hemasiri Fernando told reporters in the capital.

"He has two weeks to make a written submission."

The boxer faces a two-year ban and will be stripped of his medal if his "B" test also proves positive.

Fernando said that Wanniarachchi may have unknowingly taken the banned steroid when he consulted a physician several months ago.

"If that is indeed the case, we will plead for a lenient punishment," Fernando said.

A sports ministry official said their probe will extend to the physician who treated Wanniarachchi. Police had already interviewed the physician, a police source said, adding that investigations were under way.

Wanniarachchi beat Welshman Sean McGoldrick in the bantamweight 56kg category to clinch gold.

Sri Lanka boxing team manager Dian Gomes told the state-run Daily News that he was in shock.

"We have told the boys that there are no short cuts to win medals. We have always educated the boys on doping regulations," Gomes said.

Sri Lanka also won one silver and one bronze medal in boxing and weightlifting during the October 3-14 Games.

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