Sunday March 03, 2024

Samiullah stopped from featuring in 200m final

December 09, 2023

LAHORE: In a major tussle for supremacy between Army and WAPDA, the country’s two major sports units, a poor athlete Samiullah whose four-year ban for doping completed on December 2 was made a scapegoat at the 51st National Athletics Championships in Attock.

Samiullah was stopped by the authorities from featuring in the 200m final despite the fact that earlier he was allowed to feature in the 200m heats where he clocked 21.5 seconds on Thursday.

Representational image. —AFP File
Representational image. —AFP File

According to highly credible sources, the authorities told him that as he had not returned to the federation prize money of Rs500,000 and a bronze medal which he had earned in the 2019 South Asian Games in Nepal he could not feature in the 200m final where there was a chance of a gold for Sami. Samiullah’s four-year ban which he served for doping had expired on December 2 and WADA had allowed him to feature in any event.

Even Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP) had written a letter to Samiullah’s department WAPDA on November 29 clarifying that as the ban of Samiullah would expire on December 2 he would be eligible to participate in the 51st National Athletics Championship scheduled to be held from December 6-8.

World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) had also clarified eligibility in a brief letter to Samiullah and had allowed him to play in the national event. “If your period of ineligibility is over you are free to participate in competitions and other activities in athletics. There is no testing requirement to return to the competition,” WADA letter said.

Sources said that Samiullah was told by a top official of the AFP on Thursday that he cannot play in the 200m final. It shocked the athlete so much that he was seen weeping in his team hotel.

Sources said that WAPDA’s management told the AFP officials that they were ready to transfer Rs500,000 to the federation but it should allow Samiullah to feature in the event but WAPDA’s officials were told that he cannot play and if he refunds the said amount which he had got as a prize money for snaring bronze in Nepal then a committee will decide his fate.

Samiullah had prepared extremely well for this event as he wanted to make an impressive comeback to the competitive circuit but all his dreams were shattered. A senior official of AFP had told this correspondent a few days ago that Samiullah was eligible to participate in the National Championships.

Meanwhile, 110m hurdler Mohammad Naeem was not fielded by his department Army. He was itching for a super return to competitive circuit following a four-year ban. Sources told The News that Naeem’s recent performances in trials and training showed that he could set a new record but he was not tested by his unit. This correspondent tried to reach out to Army’s chief coach Nishat Ali but he was not available for comments.

Naeem had clinched gold in the 2019 South Asian Games in Nepal along with his nephew Olympian Mehboob Ali who could not return to competitive circuit due to injury. This correspondent also could not reach on phone the top officials of AFP despite repeated attempts.