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Another year of dismal and shame for Indian athletics with dope cheats

NADA

NADAA furious Sports Authority of India asked an explanation and demanded compensation of Rs 10 lakh it had spent for the travel expenses of the disqualified athletes.

On the brighter side, India hosted the 20th Asian Championships in Pune, for only the second time after New Delhi hosted the continent’s top event in 1989.

But the hosts could pick up just two gold medals (though third highest medal tally of 17) to finish sixth in a Championship which lost much of the sheen with Asian leaders China sending a contingent without some of their top athletes.

Stars like 2012 London Olympics bronze-medallist high jumper Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar and London silver medallist discus thrower Ehsan Hadadi of Iran also decided to skip the event.

Despite sending a depleted team, China ran away with top honors with 16 gold, six silver and five bronze, while Bahrain and Japan came second and third respectively.

Ace discus thrower Vikas Gowda and the women’s 4x400m relay quartet of M R Poovamma, Tintu Luka, Anu Mariam Jose and Nirmala won gold to salvage some pride for India while the likes of Krishna Poonia (women’s discus throw) and Sudha Singh (women’s 10,000m race) flopped in the five-day event.

Throughout the year, Indians failed to come up with any creditable performance at the global stage with only Gowda finishing fourth in a Diamond League leg — ninth leg in Paris — just after being crowned Asian champions.

Just prior to the Asian Championships, former IOA chief and corruption tainted Suresh Kalmadi lost the only sports post he was holding as he was beaten in his own backyard by Ahmad Dahlan of Qatar in the Asian Athletics Association presidential election.

In a close fight, Kalmadi lost 18-20 to the Qatari, a vice-president of the international governing body of athletics, the IAAF.

After a few months, Kalmadi also lost his membership of the IAAF Council as he no longer remained AAA president.

The Indians also came a cropper in the World Championships in August in Moscow with 15 of them, except Gowda, who finished seventh, bringing up the rear in their respective events.

The year also saw Poonia losing out on the prestigious Khel Ratna Award to shooter Ronjan Sodhi in controversial circumstances. Poonia claimed that she had got the nod of the selection panel when the contest was limited to her and para-athlete H N Girisha.

She alleged that Sodhi was brought back at the behest of a member of the selection panel in a re-voting in which she lost out narrowly.

The Sports Ministry took time to take a decision on the tricky issue but eventually accepted the selection panel’s recommendation of Sodhi for the Khel Ratna.

In other developments, the AFI was forced to hold its election of office-bearers twice after the initial one was found to have violated the Sports Code.

The Ministry refused to recognize the election of the president, secretary and treasurer in the elections held last year.

The AFI, under threat of de-recognition, amended its constitution in line with the Sports Code and held polls again in April with Adille Sumariwala, C K Valson and P K Sriavstava getting elected as president, secretary and treasurer respectively.

PTI

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