WADA chief says Shane Warne got away easily

Published: Sunday, December 3, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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London:World Anti-doping Agency Chairman Dick Pound feels Shane Warne was let off lightly by Cricket Australia for testing positive for direutics as the banned drugs are actually masking agents which could have helped the Aussie in hiding more serious steroids he possibly took to recover from a shoulder injury before the 2003 World Cup.

In his recently released book, Mr Pound said Warne got away lightly without having to explain the actual reasons for taking the banned drug.

''Cricketer Shane Warne said his mother had given him a diuretic so that he would look slimmer on television, without mentioning the shoulder injury from which he was trying to recover,'' Pound has written in the book, the excerpts of which were published in The News of the World.

''The diuretic was a masking agent that could have hidden the possible use of steroids that would help the injury cure faster. He had returned to play almost twice as quickly as the experts had predicted,'' he added, raising doubts on Warne's claim that he did not take the banned diuretic substances hydrochlorothiazide and amiloride to mask any other steroid.

The veteran leg-spinner served a year-long ban after the dope offence came to light but maintained his innocence saying that his mother administered the drugs to him as she wanted him to look slim for a TV programme.

However, in a chapter on sportsmen's worst excuses for positive drug tests the WADA chief said the Aussie's explanation was hard to believe considering he did not reveal the details of his shoulder injury to the Cricket Australia panel which handed him the mild sentence.

The panel itself had described the testimonies of Warne and his mother as being ''vague and inconsistent''.

Mr Pound lambasted CA for acting soft on the champion spinner and said WADA was not impressed with the way Warne's case was handled.

''I was very disappointed with the One-year ban that the Australians gave to Warne. I think you only have to look at what the Australians say about the issue of doping and then look at what they do when their own sportsmen fail tests,'' the WADA chief told the tabloid.

''Warne was extremely lucky but, at the time, it was not a decision in which WADA had any right to intervene,'' he added.

Warne, meanwhile, has refused to react to Mr Pound's criticism.

At the time of the positive dope test, the flamboyant player had said that he was a victim of 'anti-doping hysteria'.

Meanwhile, Mr Pound said WADA was keenly following the proceedings in the case Pakistan pace duo of Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif and if the PCB shows any leniency on the banned bowlers, WADA would intervene.

''It is possible WADA will intervene,'' he said.

''The rules are all pretty clear and the rules are being broken deliberately and that has to be confronted. It's a matter of cheating. If you are using these drugs, you are cheating,'' he added.


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