Gomathi tested positive

Gomathi Marimuthu

Gomathi Marimuthu, who won the gold medal in women's 800m in the Asian Athletics Championships in Doha, has been tested positive for a prohibited substance.

The 30-year-old had clocked a personal best time of 2:02:70s in Doha last month. She had bettered her previous best of 2:03:21 she had achieved in the Federation Cup at Patiala in March this year.

It is expected Gomathi now would no longer be travelling to Spala, Poland, where a batch of Indian athletes are currently training. She was part of a batch which was supposed to join the quarter-milers, who had flown from the World Relays in Yokohama, to Poland. It is learnt Gomathi was to be tried out in the 400m as well in order to bring her in as part of the longer relay team on which there are Olympic medal hopes.

Gomathi's victory had come out of the blue in the Asian Championships. It got her plenty of attention and made her an overnight star. She received support after the story of her financial struggles became known. The athlete from a village near Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu, had been training for World Championships with an eye on Tokyo, after her Asian Championships triumph. Asian champions and other continental champions are entitled to a direct entry to the World Championships though the final selection of such athletes was left to the national federations.

When contacted, Athletics Federation of India president Adille Sumariwalla said he had “got no official information on it.”

If the substance is steroid, which might well be the case, it could put curtains on her career that had just begun to take shape. Her story of struggles had warmed the hearts of sports fans across the country. Political parties and the Tamil Nadu government had announced cash awards for her. Sources close to Gomathi said she has insisted on her innocence.  

Gomathi had competed in the Asian championships in Wuhan, China, in 2015 (fourth in a personal best 2:04.89) and in the 2013 edition at Pune (seventh). She bettered her Wuhan time at Patiala this year.

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