Athletes in Delhi meet face Nada heat - Hindustan Times
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Athletes in Delhi meet face Nada heat

ByAvishek Roy, New Delhi
May 24, 2024 11:08 PM IST

The activities of the NADA team led to an 'unusually' high number of athletes withdrawing from their respective events

On a scorching morning, the National Anti-Doping Agency on Friday turned the heat up on dope cheaters at the Delhi State Summer Athletic Meet at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here.

Used syringes were found at the JLN stadium(HT)
Used syringes were found at the JLN stadium(HT)

The early-morning presence of NADA dope testers caused a stir among the athletes. One medallist in the shot put boys' U-18 event was chased by NADA officials around the stadium but he managed to escape. Another shot putter in the girls U-18 category also evaded testers. Besides these two incidents, the NADA team was busy throughout the day collecting samples of medallists and also picking up 'random' athletes for tests.

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The activities of the NADA team led to an 'unusually' high number of athletes withdrawing from their respective events. The tag of 'Did Not Start' or 'Did Not Finish' was common against the name of several athletes in almost every discipline.

The boys (U-18) 1000m run had two heats with a total of 42 athletes in the fray. The first heat saw seven not finishing the race while as many as 10 athletes 'Did Not Start' in the second heat. In the boys (U-18) 400m competition, out of 27 sprinters, nine withdrew (DNS). The men's 400m run had seven DNS while a total of 18 athletes competed. Three athletes clocked over a minute. The 3000m men's steeplechase final saw three withdrawals out of a total of seven.

The throwing events were witness to similar scenes. The boys U18 shot put event, where a miscreant fled, had 13 participants but only eight competed. The other five had DNS against their names. In the men's shot put, out of seven throwers, three pulled out. In men's javelin, out of nine competitors, four pulled out. In the women's shot out, four of the 10 athletes did not compete.

"These are unusually high numbers of athletes withdrawing from events," said an official, who did not wish to be named, at the venue. "Generally. you don't have so many athletes in the DNS bracket. They have paid their entry fees. It is after seeing the dope testers that many might have decided to skip."

The result of the shot putter who ran away without giving his samples has been withheld.

Syringes were seen scattered in the washrooms at the stadium. A stadium official said the syringes were not there a day earlier. "The toilets were cleaned in the evening and no syringes were spotted," he added.

The competition was being conducted to select the Delhi team for the National Youth Athletics Championships in Chhatisgarh from June 15.

DDA asks athletes to sign undertaking

The Delhi Athletics Association (DAA) got the participants to give an undertaking with the names of their coaches. DAA thus became the first state federation to implement the Athletics Federation of India's (AFI) new policy of asking athletes to furnish details of their coaches. AFI said it will also punish the coaches if the athletes are suspended for doping.

This comes in the backdrop of India recording the highest number of doping offenders in the world in 2022, according to a recent World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) report. India tested a total of 3,865 samples during the period beginning January 1, 2022- December 31, 2022 and 125 of them returned Adverse Analytical Findings (AAFs). The 3.2% of AAF India recorded is the highest in the world among nations that tested more than 2,000 samples. India is also the second worst country in doping cases among minors as per a 10-year study conducted by the WADA. Russia tops that list.

Earlier in January, NADA had swooped on a locality near the JLN stadium to collect samples, catching state-level athletes off-guard.

In September last year, a Delhi state meet was in news when seven athletes withdrew from the 100m final at the Delhi State Athletics Championships. Lalit Kumar, the sole competitor in the race, returned dope positive and was handed a four-year ban by NADA. AFI had launched an inquiry into the incident. The report of the AFI committee is yet to be made public.

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