| Seema Antil
Doha: With discus thrower Seema Antil reportedly testing positive for a banned drug on the eve of the athletics team’s departure from New Delhi for the Asian Games here, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) officials, as usual, ran for cover and refused to comment on the issue.
While various IOA officials present here are privately admitting that the Haryana athlete has been withdrawn from the Asian Games squad after testing positive during a training camp in Muscat, the IOA secretary general Randhir Singh said he was not aware of any such development.
“Believe me, I was completely taken aback when I heard this news from one of the officials this morning,” Randhir Singh told The Telegraph. “I can’t tell you anything unless I hear it officially,” he added.
Seema, who was with the Indian athletics team in Muscat, was sent back to Delhi and is now in her Meerut home. “Her father is not keeping well. So she was sent back,” said the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) secretary general Lalit Bhanot.
The chef-de-mission of the Indian contingent, Ramlal Thakur, pleaded ignorance. “We should come to know about her absence from the team only after the contingent arrives here. For me, her name is still on the list of participants for the Asian Games,” he said.
This is for the second time Antil has been caught for doping.
Antil won the gold medal at the 2000 World Junior Championships, but lost it due to a positive drugs test for pseudoephedrine . This being a minor drug offence, she was issued a public warning by the IAAF and, thus, not suspended. She won a bronze medal at the next World Junior Championships in 2002.
Antil also won a silver medal in the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in March.
She was honoured with Bhim Award by the Haryana Government on June 26.
Antil’s case, if it is confirmed, will be the latest in a string of doping offences that have plagued Indian sport.
India were suspended from international weightlifting competitions, for the second time in less than two years, after four of their weightlifters failed doping tests during and just ahead of the Melbourne Commonwealth Games.