India’s mixed relay team of Mohammad Anas, Hima Das, Arokia Rajiv and MR Poovamma are set to have their medals from the 2018 Asian Games 4×400 mixed relay event upgraded to gold, following a four-year ban imposed on Bahraini sprinter Kemi Adekoya by the Athletics Integrity Unit, which oversees doping cases in track and field.
The AIU said on Friday that Adekoya’s results since August 24 last year would be struck out, meaning that she loses her Asian Games gold medals in the 400 hurdles and the 4×400 mixed relay. The hurdles gold is due to pass to Vietnam’s Quach Thi Lan and the relay gold to India. India’s Anu Raghavan, who had finished fourth in hurdles, is also set to move up from fourth to third and be in line for a bronze medal.
The Indian quartet of Anas, Poovamma, Hima and Arokia Rajiv had clocked 3 minute and 15.71 seconds to finish behind Bahrain (3:11.89) in the mixed relay, which was making a debut at the Asian Games, on August 28 last year.
India had originally lodged an appeal against Bahrain for ‘obstruction’ after the mixed relay race, alleging that a Bahraini sprinter had impeded Hima Das’s way during the race. However, that appeal had been turned down and India had been awarded silver.
Here is how the race had progressed:
Bahrain sets World Best timing in 4x400m Mixed Relay- 3:11.89 with that Gold medal, #Indian team of Md. Anas, Poovamma, #HimaDas & Arokia Rajiv grabs Silver medal- 3:15.71, Kazakhastan bagged bronze- 3:19.52;
— Athletics Federation of India (@afiindia) August 28, 2018
All decisions on medals won at the Asian Games are to be taken by the Olympic Council of Asia.
Policy of fielding African-born runners
Adekoya competed for Nigeria but switched allegiance to Bahrain ahead of the 2014 Asian Games. Since then, she’s won four Asian Games gold medals and an Asian championship title, plus the 2016 world indoor 400 gold in Portland.
Bahrain’s longstanding policy of fielding African-born runners has come under scrutiny after Olympic marathon silver medalist Eunice Kirwa was banned for four years last month in a doping case. Another distance runner, Violah Jepchumba, was banned last year.
After countries including Bahrain and Qatar spent years recruiting African runners, the IAAF tightened the rules for changes of allegiance in track in 2018, saying it feared some athletes were being bought and sold by third parties. The new measures include a three-year waiting period and a bar on athletes transferring more than once.
Also on Friday, the AIU said Indian distance runner Sanjivani Jadhav has been banned for two years for a positive test for probenecid, which can be used to mask the presence of other banned substances. Jadhav loses the bronze medal she won in the 10,000 at April’s Asian Championships.
(With PTI Inputs)