India’s quarter-miler Nirmala Sheoran and four other athletes have tested positive for banned substances, according to reports.
All five athletes tested positive in re-tests of their samples done in a laboratory abroad, as directed by the World Anti-Doping Agency, reported the Deccan Herald. All the samples that were taken during the Inter-State Nationals earlier this year had been classified “negative” by the National Anti-Doping Laboratory, the report added.
Despite being a part of the National Anti-Doping Agency’s Registered Testing Pool (RTP), which requires an athlete to provide their whereabouts to the agency on a quarterly basis, Nirmala went incommunicado for almost 10 months before re-surfacing in June.
Sheoran failed to report to the national camp in Patiala after the 2017 world championships in August last year. Her whereabouts from then till the Inter-State Nationals Meet in Guwahati in June this year were unknown.
Sheoran went on to clock 51.25 seconds to finish second to Hima Das at the Inter-State Nationals, which served as qualifiers for the Asian Games. She went to Jakarta in August and finished fourth in the individual 400 metres event at the Asiad.
Sheoran again went missing after the Asiad and did not report to the national camp, the report said, despite the Athletics Federation of India making it mandatory to do so. This is not the first time she has done this. Sheoran had disappeared for long periods before turning up at selection events for the Rio Olympics and 2017 world championships, and she qualified for both events.
The Times of India also reported that two of the other athletes caught flouting anti-doping violations also went to the Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang. Middle-distance runner Sanjivani Jadhav, participating in the 5,000 and 10,000 metres, and discus thrower Sandeep Kumari had been to the Asian Games and their names are among the five named by the newspaper.
Shot-putter Naveen Chikkara and middle-distance runner Jhuma Khatun are the other names which figure in the list.