New Delhi: Former athletes on Monday blamed the national federation and the coaches for the doping scandal that rocked the country, saying that they were hand in glove with the athletes in bringing the country to shame.

A furious former top sprinter Ashwini Nachappa said that there is a ‘nexus’ among the athletes, Athletics Federation of India officials and former Soviet Block coaches.

"It was long overdue. Will the AFI officials care to explain as to why all these athletes have been travelling to Ukraine and Belarus for training. This is a big nexus between Soviet block coaches, athletes and federation officials. All of them are hand in glove," an angry Nachappa said.

Legendary quarter-miler Milkha Singh wondered how the athletes could have taken banned drugs without the knowledge of federation and coaches.

"It is impossible that the athletes took to banned substances without the knowledge of coaches and federation officials. The coaches are behind all these and the officials would also keep a blind eye pretending they don't know," Milkha Singh said.

Nachappa expressed surprise at how Ashwini Akkunji, who along with another quartermiler Priyanka Panwar tested positive for anabolic steroids, managed to improve her timings spectacularly once she came back from Belarus.

"You can't improve your timing this drastically after a short stint. Also they can’t feign ignorance about the food supplements that they are being given. Are they little kids who don't understand the implications of using banned substances?" she questioned.

Nachappa was curt in his assessment that nothing good will happen for the Indian athletes in 2012.

"The hope was the 4x400 relay team but now three are out. So can't expect much from others. The impetus right now should be on cleaning up the mess so that we do well in 2016."

Milkha Singh, gold medallists at the Asian and Commonwealth Games, said that the cash incentives and awards given to the dope cheats should be taken back to serve a deterrent to other athletes.

"Take away the cash prizes given by the central and state governments and other awards. That will served a deterrent to other future athletes," he said.

Two more athletes -- the country's new golden girl Ashwini Akkunji and another quartermiler Priyanka Panwar – on Monday tested positive for anabolic steroids, taking the tally of dope offenders in the last few days to eight.

Akkunji and Priyanka returned positive for anabolic steroid methandienone in the dope tests conducted on June 27 by NADA at NIS Patiala, hours before their departure for Japan for the July 7-10 Asian Championships.

The country could have faced embarrassment and shame had these two athletes been caught at the Asian Championships. Both have been immediately suspended by the AFI and withdrawn from the Japan-bound team.

Mandeep Kaur and Sini Jose, Akkunji's team-mates in the 4x400 relay quartet that won gold in the Commonwealth and Asian Games last year, had also tested positive for the same methandienone as well another qaurtermiler Jauna Murmu.

Another qaurtermiler Tiana Mary Thomas had tested positive for anabolic steroid epimethandiol.

Long Jumper Hari Krishnan Muralidharan and shot putter Sonia were the other athletes who have tested positive in the last few days.

(Agencies)