Exclusive: Disgraced Sri Lankan vows to fight on to keep gold medal after he is disqualified for drugs
Sunday, 08 May 2011
May 8 - Sri Lanka's Manju Wanniarachchi lawyers have vowed to carry on his fight to try to keep his Commonwealth Games gold medal after he was stripped of his title by a court here today following a positive test for anabolic steroids after his victory in New Delhi.
The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) Court rejected claims from 30-year-old Wanniarachchi that he should not be punished following a positive test for nandrolone after he beat Wales' Sean McGoldrick in the final of bantamweight division in the Indian capital last October.
Wanniarachchi's legal team had claimed before a hearing chaired by Malyasia's Prince Tunku Imran, the vice-president of the CGF, that there was a breakdown in the chain of custody after a sample was taken and it being transported to the drugs laboratory in Delhi.
Among the allegations produced by Wanniarachchi's lawyer Kalinga Indatissa was that some of the numbers on the official documentation had been altered following him producing his urine sample.
But his defence was thrown out and Indatissa told insidethegames that they did not accept the decision and would now appeal to the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) for it to be overturned.
That means that the wait will for McGoldrick to wait to discover whether he will be awarded the gold medal could go on for several more months as the CGF will not redistribute the medal until the appeals process is exhausted.
"It's a total cocky [sic] order," Indatissa told insidethegames.
"If there is a possibility of tampering they should not have taken away the medal.
"The chain of custody is the most important thing and we have managed to show that there was not there."
Tunku expressed sympathy for McGoldrick after chairing the Court, which also included the other CGF vice-president Bruce Robertson from Canada, the CGF honorary secretary Louise Martin from Scotland and the CGF honorary legal adviser Sharad Rao from Kenya.
"The Federation Court has given decision but under the CGF Anti-Doping Standards there is now a 21 day window for the athlete to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport," said Tunku.
"We understand that this has been a long process for all involved and we hope that it is finalised as soon as possible."
Indatissa had previously represented Sri Lanka's world 200 metres silver medallist Susanthika Jayasinghe when she was controversially cleared of taking nandrolone following a positive test in 1998 after she claimed that she was the victim of a political conspiracy.
"This [decision] is not worth the paper it is written on," said Indatissa, who part of a delegation of 13 people who had travelled here from Sri Lanka to help support Wanniarachchi.
"We do not accept it and we will be challenging it at CAS.
"We have demonstrated that some of the numbers had been altered and they could not answer that.
"A chain of custody is a chain of custody and it has to be intact.
"It is up to them to prove the case against us and show reasonable doubt.
"But they have not done that.
"I cleared Susanthinka and I will win this case."
Wanniarachchi had beaten 18-year-old McGoldrick (pictured above right) from Newport in the final in the Indian capital to clinch the gold and give Sri Lanka its first boxing gold in 72 years.
McGoldrick would become Wales' third gold medallist of the Games, joining Dai Greene, who won the 400 metres hurdles, and Robert Weale, who won the men's singles in lawn bowls.
Wanniarachchi is the fifth competitor to test positive at the Commonwealth Games and the second gold medallist to be stripped of his title.
The other was Nigeria's Damola Osayemi, who had won the 100 metres.
Two other tests also involved Nigerian athletes and another saw an Indian disqualified.
The full decision of the Federation Court is available for download by clicking here.
April 2011: McGoldrick to discover gold medal fate on May 8
April 2011: McGoldrick admits wait for Delhi 2010 gold medal has become "very frustrating"
March 2011: Sri Lankan boxer banned after failed Delhi drugs test
January 2011: Hearing into Sri Lankan boxer postponed until May
January 2011: Medal wait goes on for Welsh boxer