One of India’s top men javelin throwers was forced to pull out of the first leg of the Indian Grand Prix in Patiala after the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) received a communication from the international body that the athlete had failed an out of competition dope test. The athlete is part of the registered testing pool of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), which means he has to share his whereabouts and would be often tested. The thrower was a medal prospect for the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games.
On Tuesday, when the official start list of the men’s javelin was issued for the Indian GP, the name of the athlete was scratched out. The men’s javelin throw was won by Neeraj Chopra (82.88m). Vipin Kasana (80.04) and Amit Kumar 77.33) came second and third respectively.
The athlete had last year failed a dope test but was allowed to compete because the substance did not attract a provisional suspension. The athlete has been part of the national camp and was training with German coach Uwe Hohn in Patiala. His last competition was the Asian Games test event in Jakarta earlier this month.
According to sources, the communication from the IAAF was received a day before the first leg of the Indian Grand Prix. “The AFI received a communication from the IAAF that this particular athlete had failed a dope test. This is a new incident and not related to the athlete’s previous case. The athlete’s name was removed from the start list for the very same reason. The athlete was informed about the result,” a top AFI official told The Indian Express on Tuesday.
This is not the first time an Indian star has tested positive before a major championship. Two years ago wrestler Narsingh Yadav, sprinter Dharambir Singh and shot-putter Inderjeet Singh failed dope tests in the run up to the Rio Olympics. Last year, national record holder in the women’s shotput Manpreet Kaur tested positive for a steroid in tests conducted during the Asian Grand Prix and was pulled out from the team for the London World Championships.
Three meet qualifying norms
In the first leg of the Indian GP, three athletes, including javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, met qualifying guidelines for the Commonwealth Games which have been set by the AFI. The standard for the men’s javelin was 81.80 metres, which Chopra crossed with 82.88 metres in his penultimate throw. Chopra joined the national camp and is now training with Hohn after a three month stint with another German Werner Daniels who is based in Offenburg.
Apart from Chopra, Nayana James in the women’s long jump and Navjeet Dhillon in the women’s discuss throw met qualifying guidelines. Dhillon, a former junior world bronze medallist, set a personal best of 59.18 metres to win gold . The qualifying standard was set at 59 metres. James won the women’s long jump with 6.47 metres, two centimeters more than the qualifying mark. Triple jumper Rakesh Babu, who came first with 16.59m, was a centimeter short of meeting qualifying mark.
However, chief national coach Bahadur Singh said that the selection committee would pick the squad based on the performances of athletes at the Federation Cup, which will be held next week in Patiala.