Among the athletic meets the IAAF’s performance manipulation committee is scanning is last year’s G Kasanov Memorial in Almaty, during which two Indian athletes set national records and qualified for the Rio Olympics, while the women’s 4×100 metre replay squad set a new mark. The performance manipulation committee was established last year as one of the reform measures following the fallout of the Russian doping scandal.
Dutee Chand in the women’s 100 metres, Ankit Sharma in the men’s long jump and the quartet of Srabani Nanda, HM Jyothi, Merlin Joseph and Chand had set national records, which are yet to be ratified by the Athletics Federation of India.
“The whole meet is under question as the IAAF is looking into the performance of the athletes because a large number suddenly qualified for the Rio Olympics. The Almaty meet is one of the meets around the world which the performance manipulation committee of the IAAF is investigating. That said we need to be fair and if our athletes have produced genuine performances we will ratify their records,” Adille Sumariwala, the IAAF council member said on the sidelines of a promotional event of the 22nd Asian Athletics Championships.
The IAAF is likely to release its finding ahead of the World Championships in London in August. “What is being investigated is whether there has been mechanical manipulation or technical manipulation or any form of corruption. Such meets where an unusually large number of athletes meet qualifying standards for the Olympics will raise eyebrows,” Sumariwala added.
The AFI had intially decided to wait before ratifying the aforementioned records because the anti-doping laboratory in Almaty had been unrecognized by the World Anti-doping Agency just before the meet. After this development, the AFI had decided to adopt a wait and watch policy before ratifying the records set at the Almaty.
Stricter selection norms
Embarrassed by the performances of India’s top athletes, many of whom were way off their personal best at the Rio Olympics, the Athletics Federation of India has decided to monitor the performances of those who meet qualifying standards for mega events. This means that athletes, who has qualified for the upcoming World Championships, must continue to show consistency in performance in the run-up to the event.
“We have noticed that some athletes peak to qualify and then their performances taper off. When they go for the Olympics, like we have seen, or other events they fall short of their personal bests. Henceforth, the selection committee will take a call if an athlete, who has qualified, is fit and in form to be entered for an international event,” AFI president Sumariwalla said.
Athletes who are based outside India, train abroad or are not at camps will also be asked to attend selection trails before the Asian Athletics Championships to be held in Bhubaneshwar next month.
“We are very clear after Rio Olympics that we will strictly monitor the fitness and performance level of these foreign-based athletes. We have asked Vikas Gowda (discus throw) and Siddhanth Thingalaya to attend a trial at the NIS Patiala on June 25 and 26. The selection committee will see their performance and decide whether they can be selected for the Asian Championships or not.”