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Pak athletics jolted as three SAG medallists fail dope tests

Sports

May 27, 2020

KARACHI: Pakistan’s athletics received a huge blow as three athletes failed dope tests which had been conducted during the 13th South Asian Games in Nepal last year.

Those who failed dope tests include Olympian Mehboob Ali (400 metre hurdles), 110 metre hurdler Mohammad Naeem and sprinter Samiullah. Mehboob and his maternal uncle Naeem had claimed gold medals in their respective events, while Sami had claimed bronze in the South Asian Games in Nepal.

Mehboob and Naeem belong to Army, while Sami plays for WAPDA. Mehboob was also part of Pakistan’s contingent during the 2016 Rio Olympics. This is a huge blow for the athletics as the country had claimed five gold, two silver and six bronze. The tainted athletes are facing sanctions and they will also be stripped of their medals.

The athletes will have to submit response over the outcome by Wednesday (today). According to sources, Nepal NOC had informed Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) the other day about the tests results and POA then forwarded the report to the Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP).

Javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem and 200m specialist Uzair-ur-Rehman have cleared the tests, sources told ‘The News’.

All the three athletes who failed dope test, were also part of the national squad which was sent to China last year for training. However, the training period had to be cut short due to outbreak of Covid-19.

After receiving replies from the athletes a hearing will be held. If athletes want to test their B samples then as per rules the same tests will be conducted. An athlete, who has failed the test, told ‘The News’ that he had not used the medicine which has been mentioned in the report.

“I did not use the medicine which has been mentioned in the report. Yes I have used local boosters and if there is any prohibited substance in that then I cannot say,” the athlete said. “You know I don’t know much about the medicine and I have not consulted any Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) doctor before using such medicines. But what I see is that myself and another athlete had used same boosters and the reports of both are different,” he said.

“I am really sad. I have not slept since Eid’s day when I received the report. I have great love for my medal as I had snatched that gold from India and had worked very hard,” he added. Meanwhile, a senior official of the Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP) was also very dejected over the outcome.

“It’s really sad to hear about the outcome,” he said. When asked why they did not conduct dope tests of their star performers before the South Asian Games, the official said: “These are very expensive.”

When asked whether the AFP had requested the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) for conducting tests of some star athletes the official said that they had not requested. But the official was quick to add that in future every possible care will be taken.

“We will try our level best to prevent our athletes from using such prohibited substances,” he said. He said that on Tuesday the AFP had formed an inquiry committee which will investigate the matter and will report to the federation.

A senior official of POA told ‘The News’ that AFP should have properly handled their athletes. “This is the responsibility of the AFP to take proper care of its athletes. I think Pakistan Weightlifting Federation (PWF) has properly looked after its weightlifters,” he was quick to add.