What was your reaction when you first got to know that your ‘A’ Sample had tested positive?
I was surprised and shocked because I have never intentionally taken any banned substance for any reason. My pride, apart from the medals I have won for the country, is the fact that I play fair and have never resorted to any unfair means.
How many times have you been tested in the recent past?
I think I may be the athlete tested the most number of times. I have been tested on six occasions since I landed in India after my training stint in the United States. I was tested at the Federation Cup in Delhi on April 28, I was tested on May 26, on June 22, on June 29 at the Inter-state meet in Hyderabad and on two consecutive days on July 10 and July 11 during the Indian Grand Prix in Bangalore. According to information from the National Anti-Doping Agency my ‘A’ sample has tested positive following samples collected on June 22 but I am not aware of the results of the tests which followed. The real picture will be clear only once we gather all possible information.
Moreover, I have won medals for the country at the Asian championships, the Asian Grand Prix Series, the Asian Games and at the national level and have never failed a dope test before. I am not stupid to take drugs just before Olympics.
However, you did have a whereabouts failure in June?
Unfortunately, there was a whereabouts failure but at that point in time I didn’t realise it would be such a big issue. Before that particular incident (June 15) my whereabouts were always updated and even after than I have updated my whereabouts. On that particular day I had to go somewhere but didn’t realise that officials would come for dope testing. I did not intentionally miss the test, it was a genuine mistake because I simply forgot to update my whereabouts for that particular day. Frankly, I didn’t think it would be held against me in this manner
So how do you explain your dope test failure just prior to the Olympics?
I believe it is a conspiracy hatched to malign my reputation and prevent me from going to the Olympics Games. I have been very outspoken and vocal about athletes’ rights and I am not a ‘yes’ man. Some people have been very upset that I am an independent and frank person who has a mind of his own. I knew that people who were unhappy about my progress as an athlete would try their best to malign me but I didn’t think they would stoop to this level.
What are the grounds on which you can prove that you have not resorted to doping?
If you look at my performance this year since I came back after a training stint in USA, I have not crossed the 20 metre mark. In all competitions I have been throwing in the 19 metre range. My personal best is 20.65 metres (in 2015) and now I am throwing only 19 metres plus. If they are saying I have taken drugs then how does one explain the fact that I am not performing at my best. It is strange and I believe there has been some foul play.