The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) has apparently failed to furnish papers in support of triple-jumper Renjith Maheshwary to prove that he didn’t violate the anti-doping rules during the 48th Open Nationals in Kochi five years ago.
“The federation was supposed to give the details to us by Monday but we are yet to receive them,” secretary, sports, PK Deb told HT.
Despite repeated attempts, AFI secretary-general, CK Valson, could not be reached as his phone was switched off. No one also came forward to justify why the federation even recommended Maheshwary’s name when, in the past, it had kept athletes with a history of dope away from the awards.
Sources in the AFI said that the federation might furnish Maheshwary’s details on Tuesday.
On Saturday, President Pranab Mukherjee presented the Arjuna to all the other 14 nominated sportspersons, but the sports ministry had asked Maheshwary, the national record holder in triple-jump, to wait for it to conduct an inquiry into the allegations against him.
If Maheshwary finally gets the Arjuna, it will raise eyebrows and bring back into focus cases like Seema Antil’s.
In 2000, discus thrower Seema, winner of gold at the World Junior Athletics Championships in Santiago, Chile, had tested positive for a stimulant. According to Seema, she was warned publicly and her record erased.
Thereafter, despite dominating the national scene — she set a national record of 64.84m in 2004, and won silver at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne — Seema wasn’t considered for the award on the grounds that she failed a dope test as a junior.
“I’ve applied for the award twice but on both occasions my application was rejected by the federation on the grounds that I wasn’t eligible,” said Seema. “I was innocent. Had I known the medicine (she said she took for flu) would land me in trouble, I wouldn’t have taken it,” she said.
Seema claims her performance has been outstanding since but overlooked. “I think I also deserved the award,” she said.
Seema apart, Busan Asian Games champion in shot put Bahadur Singh Sagoo, due to doping allegations against him was denied the Arjuna in 2003. However, silver and bronze medallists of the 2002 Asiad have both been awarded the Arjuna.