Two medallists disqualified

Two medallists at the 29th Junior National Athletics Championships were disqualified on Wednesday after they failed to report for dope tests while syringes in the toilets told a tale of continued use of banned substances at the lower levels.

Haryana’s Anand, who had won the silver in the 1500M for boys under-20 and Madhya Pradesh girl Monika Choudhary, the silver winner in the under-20 girls 1500M, were the ones going out of the results book for not reporting for the dope tests, being conducted by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA). The results were revised subsequently, and Kerala’s Albin Sunny, the bronze winner, was elevated to the silver status in the boys’ event. Bihar’s Shailendra Singh moved up to the third position.

In the girls race, Kerala’s Safeeda MP is the new silver medallist while Pramila Yadav of Uttar Pradesh was elevated to the bronze position. Both the finals were held on Tuesday.
The rampant use of performance enhancing substances has been giving headaches to the Athletics Federation of India (AFI), with even schools meets not free from the menace. On Wednesday, syringes were found strewn inside the toilets at the stadium, a familiar scene at many competitions around the country.

An athlete who wished to remain anonymous said many athletes were buying syringes at the medical stores. “It is very upsetting, we are trying to compete in a fair manner while some others are trying to cheat,” he said.

Recently, NADA had written to the Tamil Nadu government after reports of medical stores around the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai selling performance enhancing substances appeared in the media. Subsequently, doctor’s prescription was made mandatory for these medicines and checks were initiated at entry points to the stadium.

An official said a few athletes had been caught trying to bring in banned substances in their bags recently.

Meanwhile, the living conditions of the athletes housed at the stadium continued to present a sorry picture, with cleanliness lacking all around. Steps were initiated on Wednesday to clean up the mess but despite that, it wasn’t a pleasing sight.

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