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Thursday February 22, 2024

The great Indian dope trick: only one athlete runs in final

By AFP
September 28, 2023

NEW DELHI: An Indian athletics competition ended in farce when just one sprinter competed in the 100-metre final and another continued running beyond the finishing line chased by national anti-doping officers, officials said on Wednesday.

Several winners also skipped the medal ceremony fearing being asked to give samples during the Delhi State Athletics Championship, the Indian Express newspaper reported. Officials told AFP that the National Anti-Doping Agency arrived to conduct tests at the event on Tuesday, resulting in the number of participants on the third and final day of the competition falling by half.

The visit came a day after a video shared on social media appeared to show a washroom in the capital´s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium littered with syringes and packets of the performance-enhancing drug Erythropoietin (EPO). "We had written to the NADA on the second day of the competition asking them to come for testing," Sandeep Mehta, secretary of the Delhi Athletics Association told AFP on Wednesday.

"They have the full right to test those who disappeared. We will ban the athletes if they test positive and also recommend the national athletics body to do the same."

Indian sports has been rocked by several doping scandals with athletes testing positive during the Olympics, the Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games, and 45 athletes have been suspended this year. Lalit Kumar was the lone athlete in the 100-metre final, winning after the seven other sprinters backed out, reporting they had muscle strains or cramp.