Arjuna award-winning Indian boxer Akhil Kumar came out in support of dope-tainted athletes and isÂ encouraging others to do so. Akhil wants these athletes to be treated with more compassion.
"From what I know, they haven't done it knowingly so I am in support of them for sure. They have put their heart and soul to earn laurels for the country.
"We are already down in sports and such negativity will demoralise us even further. I want to request all great athletes to come out and support them, rather than snub them. Treat them as their own kids and guide them in such testing times," Akhil told MiD DAY from National Institute of Sports (NIS), Patiala where he is training for the upcoming World Champion-ships (an Olympic qualifier). "Most athletes come from rural backgrounds and the awareness lectures are in English. They don't understand what is being said most of the time. They don't have in-depth knowledge about banned substances," added Akhil who believes doping is prevalent the world over, and that it has been going on forÂ some time.
"Everybody is ripping them apart and blaming someone or the other. But I want to tell the athletes to wait for the right time as they need to look ahead and keep training.
"Whatever has happened can't be changed but we can surely take cue from the incident and try to set up better facilities for the athletes," Akhil lashed out at those who publicly slammed athletes in the media recently. "Those who say they knew of a wrestler or athlete who used banned substances, should have raised their voice then. Why didn't they inform the concerned officials?"Â Akhil asked.