President of the Guyana Amateur Powerlifting Federation (GAPF), Peter Green yesterday broke his silence surrounding the positive doping test and two-year suspension of disgraced powerlifter Gumendra Shewdas.
During a sit down with media operatives yesterday at the Basic Beauty Salon Green commented on several topics regarding Shewdas and sought to clear the air of misconceptions he opined were being peddled by a certain section of the media.
Green told the press that the GAPF is not… “Condoning doping whether intentional or unintentional but it is the view of this president that Gumendra Shewdas did not take stimulants intentionally, these things happen.”
Shewdas, who won a gold medal at the World Sub Juniors and Juniors Men’s Championships, ‘A’ urine sample tested positive for Methylhexaneamine and Oxilofrine on October 21 at the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accredited laboratory in Cologne, Germany.
Following the positive tests for the banned stimulants, the 18-year-old, who became Guyana’s youngest world champion in August at the championships in Killen, Texas, was then stripped of his achievement and banned for two years while a fine of 2000 Euros was imposed on the GAPF.
“Crucifying a young man like him,” Green said “is not the way to go.” The IPF has stated that Shewdas is ineligible to compete in any competition whether locally or internationally for the next two years, that in itself is enough punishment. Many of the IPF powerlifting champions have been down this route and he has shown the discipline and the strength to continue.”
Green revealed that the “IPF will be working along with the local federation to rehabilitate this lifter and to ensure that he is educated enough to prevent a reoccurrence.”
The GAPF head further stated that with the assistance of the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA), through Dr. Karen Pilgrim, “we will conduct some seminars to make the athletes and coaches more aware and that WADA needs to conduct more educational programmes here since we cannot do it alone.”
Green said that the misfortune through Shewdas is not an embarrassment and a scandal as has been claimed but simply a tragedy of a young man perhaps following what his coach told him to do. A tragedy of clear cut lack of knowledge of what exactly are the substances on the WADA list.
Commenting on Shewdas’ coach, Egbert Jackson, Green told media operatives that an investigation is ongoing and that the federation will sanction the coach if he is found to be part of any wrong doing.
He also said that the GAPF was not secretive on the positive dope test but was rather rightfully respecting the privacy of the powerlifter.
“There seems to be misconceptions that we were procrastinating and delaying the results but we need to let you know that the date we were officially notified was November 26 and he was also given 21 days after the November 26 to appeal to the Sports Tribunal in Switzerland.
This is the reason why the federation took its time to respect the confidentiality of the athlete before issuing any sort of statement that would have any sort of repercussions.”
Green added that “after the 21 days expired the federation kept checking to see when he was officially confirmed as positive.
“On the 22nd of December, Shewdas was officially listed as positive but by then the federation had already recessed itself for the Christmas season after all we are not paid we are all volunteers and so I tried to call a meeting two weeks back but only one reporter came.”
Asked how the cash strapped GAPF will pay the 2000 Euros ($551,000) fine, Green said “the federation will be looking to peacefully recover the fine through requesting the lifter to reimburse us, Shewdas is not a drug cheat but he was unfortunate to have a banned stimulant in one of the supplements that he normally takes.”
Green also revealed that the federation which has a cordial relationship with the IPF, asked for more time than the initial 60 days to pay the fine and was granted 12 months to do so.
The GAPF boss in closing stated that he is looking to bring an end to the Shewdas saga at month end. (Emmerson Campbell)