In an attempt to weed out doping from lower levels, the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) issued circular to all state federations two months ago, informing them that henceforth, the National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) will conduct tests at all state championships. Athletics Federation of India (AFI) president Adille Sumariwalla said NADA sleuths will conduct tests at the Maharashtra State Athletics Championships, starting next week in Mumbai.
“This is a menace that has to be stopped. So from now on, every state level tournaments will have three members from NADA present to conduct tests on athletes to ensure clean participation,” Sumariwalla said.
The upcoming state championships in Mumbai will be the second occasion where NADA officials will be present – the first instance was at the Kerala state meet 10 days back. “The importance of having such measures in place at such early levels is so that we can nip it in the bud,” Sumariwalla added. “Lots of athletes get promotions in their jobs after winning at these levels, especially in the inter-railways or inter-police events. And then those performances help them get into the international events. Then they get caught by WADA and that puts a negative ticks against us. If we get enough ticks, India can be banned from international events.”
Going further, Sumariwalla stated that the AFI will be putting pressure on NADA to declare the results of the test in time in order to stop tainted athletes from travelling to international events. Back in April, Gomathi Marimuthu won gold in the women’s 800m event of the Asian Championships in Doha, only fail a subsequent dope test. “If they (NADA) gave us the results in time, we wouldn’t have sent a tainted athlete to the Asian Championships, made a fool of ourselves and come back,” Sumariwalla said. “So NADA has to answer for a lot. But we want to make sure nothing like that happens again.”
Chopra recovery well ‘on track’
Sumariwalla also said javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, who was forced to undergo elbow surgery on his throwing arm over a month back, has been recovering well. “I had spoken to the doctors on Friday, and they said they were happy with his progress and that he’s on track,” he said. At the moment however, it is uncertain if he will recover in time for the World Championships in September.