Sports

Five top athletes fail dope tests

Bengaluru, Nov 27 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 11/27/2018 12:20:31 PM IST

Indian athletics continued to add to the doping hall of the shame with reports emerging on Monday that five of the top stars including, 400m runner Nirmala Sheoran, have allegedly failed dope tests.

The others in the list who have failed the dope tests conducted by world athletics body’s (IAAF) Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) are Sanjivini Jadhav (5000 and 10,000m), Sandeep Kumari (discus throw) and Jhuma Khatun (1500m).

The only male athlete to figure in the new list of dope cheats is shot putter Naveen Chikara. Three of these dope offenders - Nirmala, Sanjivini and Sandeep - took part in the Jakarta Asian Games this year.

While two of the athletes caught were training at the national camp at the SAI South Centre Bengaluru, the others were part of the federation’s list of athletes who were to train at the NIS in Patiala.

Star athlete Nirmala, who had disappeared for long periods before being flown into Jakarta for the Asian Games, has been traced but she hasn’t joined the national camps, sources said. “There are reports that these samples were collected during the Inter-State meet - billed as the Asian Games trials - held in Guwahati. These results have arrived only now and that’s why some of these athletes were able to compete at the Asian Games,” sources told TOI.

“There is no change to the situation from what it was before. Even the other day, some athletes ran away from the camp when Nada officials made a surprise visit to collect samples,” sources added, stressing the fact that athletes continue to do the disappearing act with connivance of the authorities.

The latest case of positive tests is clearly going to undermine the stand of the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) that athletes are averse to joining national camps as they can’t take banned substances during the camps.

The fresh cases are proof that doping goes on in the national camps. “Some of them were training outside the national camps at that time,” sources said.

What’s shocking is that many of these athletes were part of India’s campaign at the Asian Games in Jakarata where the nation won 69 medals, its best-ever performance. Athletics added 19 medals, including seven gold, to India’s tally.

The latest reports also put a question mark over the National Anti-Doping Agency (Nada) as the agency had claimed a reduction in doping cases over the years, citing new numbers, even though it had emerged that the reduced numbers were due to a decrease in the number of dope tests conducted by the agency.

Meanwhile, NADA officials were not willing to comment on the reported cases. “We have not sent any samples to any foreign lab. All the tests are conducted at our NDTL lab only,” he said.

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