The Athletic Federation of India's (AFI) efforts to rebuild the national women's 400m team received another jolt when one of the top runners in the national preparatory camp for the 2012 London Olympic Games tested positive for a banned substance.
The shocker comes within two months of the dope scandal, which saw six top 400m relay team members testing positive for banned substances. In the latest episode, the Railway Sports Promotion Board (RSPB) athlete had participated in the departmental trials in Patiala last month, where the National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) officials had collected 26 urine samples.
Training goes on
Sources said the athlete had been provisionally suspended after her 'A' sample tested positive, though she would continue to train at Patiala. The runner is based in Kolkata and had given a good account of herself at the National inter-state meet in Bangalore in June.
At the Bangalore meet, she finished outside the medals bracket and thus evaded NADA scrutiny. But, last month, her luck ran out as, during the two-day departmental trials in Patiala, the Kolkata runner was among the leading runners in 400m. She was automatically picked for the dope test.
After a series of doping violations ruined the women's 400m line-up, the federation was banking on its second-string runners.
But with the Kolkata athlete, who had a bright chance of getting included in the national team after her performance at Bangalore, the athletics body will have to do a re-think.
The federation will now be banking on the Open national meet at Kolkata in September to pick some more new faces to build the team for the future.