More athletes ‘sprint’ out of Delhi athletics meet to evade dope testers - Hindustan Times

More athletes ‘sprint’ out of Delhi athletics meet to evade dope testers

ByAvishek Roy
May 26, 2024 10:57 PM IST

Meet organisers say they will confirm participation results only after the National Anti-Doping Agency report is received

More athletes fearing dope testers kept away from participating on the concluding day of the Delhi Summer Athletic meet at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Sunday.

Athletes at Delhi state meet in JLN stadium. (HT)
Athletes at Delhi state meet in JLN stadium. (HT)

After an exodus of participants on the first day of the meet on Friday – no events were held on Saturday due to the Lok Sabha polls – more athletes pulled out across events on Sunday as the National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) officials arrived again to collect samples.

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“The number of athletes withdrawing from events is quite high. After the presence of NADA on the first day, it seems several athletes stayed away today,” said an athletics official who didn’t wish to be named.

On Friday, many athletes either “Did Not Start” or “Did Not Finish” in almost every event. Throwing events are particularly on the radar of testers. On Friday, a U-18 men’s shot put medallist ran away despite NADA officials giving the chase and a shot putter in the U-18 girl’s section also evaded the testers.

With the two-day meet coming under the NADA scanner, the Delhi Athletics Association, the organisers, said the “results may get updated after receiving reports from NADA and the age verification committee."

The first day’s impact was evident on Sunday. Some events like women's steeplechase (three competitors), women's hammer throw (one competitor) and men's pole vault (one competitor) could not be conducted.

The men's hammer saw only one participant despite seven entries. The others were marked as 'Did Not Start (DNS)'. Devang recorded a modest throw of 63.67m. The lone participant in women's hammer did not report, having after collected her BIB number. Officials delayed both events by half-an-hour to give time for the throwers to report but to no avail. There was no medallist in men's triple jump as two jumpers withdrew and three registered ‘no mark’. In discus, only half of the eight who had entered took part.

In men's 800m, six out of the 19 participants did not start. The biggest exodus was in men’s 5,000m and boys U-18 1,000m. In 5,000m only six of the 20 athletes competed, while the 1,000m race saw 14 DNS and three DNF in a field of 25. In women's 5,000m, five of the nine athletes pulled out.

The result of the U18 shot put bronze medallist who evaded the testers has been withheld. The boys’ discus result too has been “withheld” due to complaints of overage.

The meet was to select the Delhi team for the National Youth Athletics Championships being held in Chhattisgarh from June 15.

The DAA had got all participants to give an undertaking with the names of their coaches. This was done after Athletics Federation of India (AFI) announced that it will also punish the coaches if an athlete is suspended for doping. In the last few months, NADA has been testing athletes in Delhi state meets.

India had recorded the highest number of doping offenders in the world in 2022, as per a recent World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) report. India tested 3,865 samples that year and 125 returned an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) (positive test). The 3.2% of AAF India recorded is the highest globally 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 WADA, behind Russia.

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