Mangalore, July 14, 2011 : Expressing her pain at the derogatory remarks made by P. T. Usha, Ashwini Akkunje, who won gold for India at the Commonwealth and Asian Games, said that she respects P. T. Usha a lot and had never expected her to make such remarks about athletes who have worked hard to achieve success.
Stating once again that she had never consumed any performance-enhancing drugs knowingly, she said that she is not to be blamed for failing the dope test. She also said that she is hurt about the fact that people have begun doubting the genuineness of her previous performances. She expressed her determination to rise over the issues and prove her critics wrong with her future performances.
Speaking about her previous performances, she said that she had covered 400m in 59.49 seconds at the Commonwealth Games and had improved to 56.15 seconds at the Asian Games. Refuting P. T. Usha’s statement that this is a “superhuman” feat, she said that there is nothing superhuman about it as she has worked hard for several years to achieve her goal.
Ashwini also expressed her opinion that P. T. Usha must have found it difficult to accept the fact that another athlete can match her performances and had therefore made derogatory statements against her. She also says that professional jealousy might have been the root cause for the doping scandal that has involved a number of athletes.
Stating that she is aware of the ill effects of performance-enhancing drugs, she said that she and the other athletes never consumed anything without guidance. She said that the drugs might have been mixed in the food served to her.
Rubbishing the allegations that she might have taken performance-enhancing drugs to win gold medal at the Commonwealth and Asian Games, Akkunji said that she had taken dope tests after winning the gold medal in the Commonwealth Games and also during the Asian Games in China and that she emerged unscathed from those dope tests. She also said that she had undergone dope tests twice at the Grand Prix tournaments, adding that she never hesitated taking these tests because she never took any performance-enhancing drugs. She once again claimed that she did not know how the drugs got into her system.
Stating that she spoke to Coach Yuri Ogorondnik after the episode, she says that she feels he is innocent.