Rio-bound sprinter and India’s national record holder in 200m, Dharamvir Singh, faces a life ban after federation sources said that the 27-year-old from Rohtak, Haryana, failed a dope test.
Dharamvir didn’t board the flight to Rio on Tuesday giving rise to speculations of a failed dope test. This is his second doping offence and anti-doping rules states life-bans for second-time offenders.
Dharamvir is the third Rio-bound athlete to test positive after wrestler Narsingh Yadav and shot-putter Inderjeet Singh. Yadav, however, was later given a clean chit by the National Anti Doping Agency.
Dharamvir had tested positive for Stanozolol, an anabolic steroid, for the first time in 2012 and was banned for two years. He made a dramatic comeback in 2014 winning at the Kerala National Games as well as setting new record in the 2015 domestic competitions. He made Rio cut at the Indian Grand Prix at Bengaluru on July 10 clocking 20.45 secs, which was a national record and better than the Rio qualifying mark of 20.50 secs.
Sources in Athletics Federation of India (AFI) say Dharamvir’s urine sample collected during the Inter State athletics meet held at Hyderabad from June 28 to July 2 had traces of a banned substance.
“There were always doubts about his overall performance,” said a federation official. “But he had a clean 2015 season. He participated in international meets this season trying to achieve the Rio qualifying mark and was clean,” the official said. “He also won bronze at the Asian Championships in Wuhan, China and he was tested there. All those reports were clean.”
Last week there were discussions in the federation whether to retest Dharamvir before he boarded the flight to Brazil. But the National Anti Doping Agency has stopped screening athletes before major international meets.
Dharmvir had consistently clocked below 21 seconds in 2015. Due to his outstanding performance he was also one of the key runners in the men’s 4x100m relay team which however failed to make the cut for Rio.
Dharamvir also preferred to stay away from the national camp and trained with his personal coach in Rohtak in Haryana. The recent doping issue would mean the end of the road for the national champion.