Uninspiring scenario

Doping issues continued to haunt Indian athletics in a season in which expected results failed to arrive.

The case of six quartermilers caught for doping reached a conclusion with the Court of Arbitration for Sport upholding the International Association of Athletics Federation’s appeal for a tougher sanction. Ashwini Akkunji and company, as such were handed out two-year bans, as opposed to the one-year suspension that was imposed by the National Anti-Doping Agency.

Dope cases kept cropping up from track and field meets around the country and there was very little by way of performances to raise the spirit. The Olympic Games too proved a dampener for the country’s athletes and the only inspiring tale came at the Paralympics where H N Girisha claimed a silver in high jump for F42 class.

Discus throwers Krishna Poonia and Vikas Gowda reached the finals though they would have certainly liked to go further after reaching the medal round. Krishna finished seventh with a throw of 63.62 metres in the women’s event while Vikas produced a throw of 64.79 metres to end eighth in a field of classy throwers led by world champion Robert Harting of Germany.

The 29-year-old Mysorean had set a national record of 66.28 metres earlier in the season to briefly lead the season’s lists.

K T Irfan came an impressive tenth in the 20km walk with a national record of 1:20:21 while Basant Bahadur Rana also set a national mark, timing 3:56:48 in the 50km walk for the 36th place.

Tintu Luka’s entry to the semifinal of the women’s 800M was par for the course while the likes of triple jumper Mayookha Johny, shot putter Om Prakash Singh and high jumper Sahana Kumari failed to rise to the occasion. Sahana, who had erased Bobby Aloysius’ national record with a clearance of 1.92 metres, couldn’t come close in London.

The biggest flop, of course, was Renjith Maheswary, who fouled all his three attempts in the triple jump qualification round to crash out in ignominious fashion.

Girisha, meanwhile, cleared 1.74M in the Paralympics, but missed the gold on a countback to Ileasa Delana of Fiji.

There was bad news on the administrative front as well, with the Athletics Federation of India’s elections coming under the Sports Ministry’s scrutiny. The ministry ordered that fresh elections be held to the posts of president, secretary and treasurer within 60 days or February 28, whichever is earlier, leaving the federation to mull its options.

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