At least 10 track and field athletes, mostly relay runners, are yet to undergo dope tests, though the Indian team for next month’s Asian Championships in China leaves the country in three days’ time, according to sources.
This may lead to a situation where India sends athletes to the championships whose dope status is not known as it is unlikely to get the results of the tests conducted on them before their May 30 departure.
The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) has selected 20 athletes for the June 3-7 Asian Athletics Championships in Wuhan and they will name the relay runners after trials at NIS Patiala and Bengaluru on Wednesday.
It is learnt that the AFI has asked the NADA to take dope samples of the relay runners after the trials and sources said that this was being done after some athletes went missing when a World Anti-Doping Agency dope testing team visited the SAI-LNCPE, Thiruvananthapuram.
“It is not a secret that at least seven quartermilers went missing when a WADA team came calling at Thiruvananthapuram. Somebody tipped them off and they left the centre the day prior to the WADA team arrived. I feel that the top brass of the AFI knew the seriousness of the situation and they have shifted the trial to Patiala from Thiruvananthapuram so that they undergo dope tests there,” an athletics coach said on the condition of anonymity.
“It is not difficult to know who could be selected in the relay team and taking these relay runners into account, it is clear that at least 10 athletes are yet to undergo dope tests,” he added.
Testing these relay runners at the eleventh hour runs the risk of India sending some athletes whose dope status is not known, though AFI officials said the results could be known before the departure of the team on May 30.
“The relay runners will undergo dope tests either tomorrow or May 28 and we have written to the NADA to send their team for these tests,” AFI Secretary C K Valson said.
Asked if the results will come on time before the departure of the team for Wuhan, Valson simply said, “We are hoping that the results will come within 36 to 48 hours.”