The poser : What did Monika eat or drink to be 'dumped ?'
Source: The Sangai Express / KP Mohan (The Hindu)

New Delhi, August 08: What was the substance that weightlifter Monika Devi test positive for ?.

The National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL), in its report to the Indian Weightlifting Federation, routed through the Sports Authority of India (SAI), simply lists it as "endogenous steroid or its precursor (synthetic or exogenous in origin)".

By not naming the substance the laboratory has complicated matters for SAI and the Union Sports Ministry and has given a chance to the weightlifter and the federation to question the credibility of the procedures and reporting adopted.

It was the June 6 sample of Monika Devi (sample code No.2216688) that tested positive for an 'endogenous' steroid (steroid produced within the body, say for example testosterone or nandrolone or their metabolites).

The sample (2216688) was put through a confirmatory analysis on Gas chromatograph-Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer (GC-IRMS) and the report stated: "Adverse analytical finding of endogenous steroid or its precursors; GC-IRMS results consistent with exogenous (outside) origin.".

Strangely, the lab, instead of reporting an adverse analytical finding, apparently advised SAI to put Monika through a "longitudinal study" (where urine samples are tested at least three times, unannounced, spread over a three-month period).

Three more samples were thus collected, on June 29, July 15 and July 28.There is no mention in the report about whether these tests had come back 'positive', but sources said that they were 'negative'.

This has been pointed out by federation Secretary, Sq Ldr B.R Gulati (retd.) in his letter to SAI on Wednesday.

He claimed that the sample bearing lab code LC2349 had produced a 'negative' report as conveyed by SAI on July 16 .

Once a confirmation is obtained through an IRMS analysis, there is no further investigation necessary.

Says the relevant WADA rule: "In all cases, and at any concentration, the athlete's sample will be deemed to contain a prohibited substance and the laboratory will report an Adverse Analytical Finding if, based on any reliable analytical method (e.g.IRMS), the laboratory can show that the prohibited substance is of exogenous origin.

In such case, no further investigation is necessary".

Why then should a longitudinal study be conducted?.

Endogenous steroids are dealt with differently in 'positive' reporting since they are produced within the body.

There are thresholds prescribed by WADA, for example a T/E (testosterone/epitestosteron) ratio of 4:1 in case of testosterone.

(The normal human value is 1:1).The conclusive argument in all such cases is through IRMS where it is clearly established that the substance came from outside and was not produced within the body.

A recent famous example was that of the now-disqualified 2006 Tour de France winner Floyd Landis.