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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014

Athletics

Missing files key to Renjith's Arjuna hopes
Navneet Singh , Hindustan Times
New Delhi, September 05, 2013
First Published: 03:14 IST(5/9/2013)
Last Updated: 03:16 IST(5/9/2013)

In this day and age when movers and packers can shift everything, as minute as a needle and place it exactly where you want to at the new location, federations seem to use shifting as an alibi for any document they don't want to produce.

Records and files of Renjith Maheshwary are a case in point. The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) is "not able to locate the files related to Maheshwary's doping violation" and blamed it on shifting of office.

Whether it is deliberate or otherwise, no one will know. But it definitely reflects on the way a federation, whose discipline is identified in the ministry's core group for the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games, functions. AFI's general secretary CK Valson has gone on record saying, due to shifting of office, the files have gone missing.

Going in favour
The excuse, according to sources in the federation, may help the national athletics body to push Maheshwary's case.

The ministry didn't take a decision on Wednesday as sports minister Jitendra Singh was busy in the Parliament. But Dr Ashok Ahuja, former head of sports medicine, National Institute of Sports, Patiala, said the ministry should think twice before taking a decision.

"The government shouldn't set a trend by supporting dope cheats," he said. "A huge amount of money is being spent to check doping, and rewarding culprits would definitely send out a wrong message."

Indeed, there have been several other incidents in the past where top officials of federations have used the "files have gone missing" trick.

Similar fate
The accounts of the R1 crore grant given by Nalco towards training of athletes for the 2004 Athens Olympics had met with similar fate.

The AFI in the past had kept dope offences of high-profile athletes under wraps for reasons best known to them. Take for example case of discus thrower Seema Antil.

She tested positive for stimulant during the 2000 junior world athletics championships in Santiago, Chile. Her gold winning feat was annulled. But federation didn't make the issue public till almost a year.

That discus thrower Anil Kumar had tested positive for during the 2005 Asian Championships in Incheon, South Korea, was kept under wraps for almost two years. And despite testing positive, Anil continued to use the residential wing of the Nehru Stadium from 2005-07.


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