Finally, the Athletic Federation of India (AFI) had to come out with a face-saving response on the Seema Antil issue — and what a way to do it!
The AFI, through a press release on Friday, exonerated Seema of doping charges and cleared her to participate in the Doha Games. But Seema, through a hand-written statement, expressed her inability to participate citing mental pressure brought on by her father's illness and the adverse publicity of the recent days. “I am not in the right frame of mind to perform well for my country and will not be participating in Doha,” said Seema's statement.
The AFI said that it had cleared Seema after a hearing panel, constituted to discuss her alleged doping involvement, came to the conclusion that she did not violate any rules.
The AFI communicated the decision to the athlete on Thursday itself. Interestingly, the AFI released the statement on Friday. The statement read: “Refer to the alleged doping violation charges against Seema Antil, discus thrower, by the Dope Control Centre in Delhi.
AFI constituted a hearing panel as per the rule of International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) and AFI. The hearing panel processed the hearing on fast basis and also called for all the records.
Based on the subsequent test carried out in the dope lab including Bangkok World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accredited laboratory, the hearing panel is of the view that Seema Antil has not violated any rules.”
With it end all speculations about Seema's participation at the Games — though the story seems far from over.