By Peter Foster in Beijing
Last Updated: 11:18AM BST 14 Aug 2008
The Beijing Olympics has been hit by a fresh 'cheating' row after India's gold-medal winning shooter said that his gunsight had been tampered with before the final round of his event.
Abhinav Bindra, who became the first Indian to win an individual Olympic Gold earlier this week, said he had discovered the alteration as he practiced before the final of the 10m Air Rifle event which he went on to win.
Competitors are given three minutes of 'sighter' shots to zero in their sights before the competition officially begins and it was at this point that Bindhra, 25, discovered that someone had moved his rear sight.
Dr Amit Bhattacharjee, Abhinav's personal mental trainer said: "When Abhinav fired the first shot in the sighting time (practice time), it hit the target between the fourth and fifth rings.
"It is unthinkable of any shooter competing at this level to score 4.5 points. But he remained calm and corrected the angle (of his sight) and the end result is in front of you."
The Indian team authorities said that no official complaint had been made about the incident, since it is acknowledged to be the responsibility of the shooter to take proper care of his rifle.
Baljit Singh Sethi, India's deputy Chef-the-Mission who is also the secretary general of the National Rifle Association of India, said.
"Actually, you cannot blame anyone for it's your duty to take care of your gun. He was the only Indian to qualify, so there were shooters only from other countries in that room."
Bindra has recalled going to the toilet at the same time his German coach Gabriela Buehlmann went out for a cigarette, leaving the gun unattended. It was at this moment that the Indians suspect the rifle was tampered with.
The allegations of cheating come a day after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was forced to answer allegations in the US media that three of China's gold-medal winning gymnastics team were underage.
According to Olympic regulations gymnasts must turn 16 by the end of an Olympic year, but several reports in the Chinese media appeared to refer three of the Chinese gymnasts as 13 and 14 as recently as a year ago.
Doubts have been cast over the ages of He Kexin, Jiang Yuyuan, and Yang Yilin who look considerably younger than their counterparts. Age is considered an advantage in gymnastics because younger girls are more flexible than older ones.
The victorious gymnasts who beat the USA to win team gold, were subjected to hostile questioning at their victory press conference, with journalists demanding to know if those under suspicion could 'remember their 15th birthdays'.
The IOC said that passports and other documentation provided by the Chinese authorities during the registration process 'proved' the athletes were old enough to compete, but suspicions continue to linger.
And speaking of suspicions, fresh suspicions arise today from the track, where the rookie sprinters from the small island of Jamaica swept the 100m run, seeming to jog across the finish line and shattering world records at the same time.
The tiny nation got 3 runners in the final of both the men's and women's 100, winning both races, sweeping one of them.
There are 2.7 million people in the country of Jamaica. This would be the equivalent of the city of Chicago producing the 6 fastest runners in the world. The world may raise an eyebrow.
Adding to the suspicion is the fact that British drug cheat Linford Christie now coaches Jamaican track. Christie tested positive for anabolic steroids in 1999.
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