KOCHI: Javelin thrower Davinder Singh Kang breathed a sigh of relief on Wednesday as the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) put to bed speculations regarding his participation in the Asian Athletics Championship by giving him an entry for the continental event.
The 28-year-old athlete’s participation was in doubt after the NADA reported last week that the former’s urine sample taken during the third leg of Indian Grand Prix on May 15 had traces of marijuana. It was uncertain whether the AFI would reject his entry. However, the national athletics body ruled in favour of the embattled athlete as NADA hasn’t passed any adverse report on Kang to AFI or slapped a provisional suspension on the athlete.
Marijuana was added to World Anti-doping Agency’s proscribed list in 1997 after a Canadian snow boarder’s samples returned positive for marijuana metabolites.
However, the debate over whether the material enhances performance raged on and the doping watchdog in 2013 finally took a middle path by raising the in-competition threshold from 15 nanograms per milliliter to 150 nanograms per millilitre. This hike in threshold was to give cover to those athletes who smoke weed out of competitions. However, in Kang’s case sources revealed that marijuana found in his sample was close to 290 nanograms.
Sources within the AFI told that they decided to include Kang in the squad as he was not serving any suspension. “He was not suspended by NADA. So why should we drop him?” asked an AFI office-bearer.
Meanwhile, the decision was welcomed by Kang, who said that he had never used any performance-enhancing or recreational drugs.
“I was really pained to see my name in newspapers for a wrong reason. I had never used any drugs — weed or any steroid, and one fine morning I got a call from the officials that they had detected traces of marijuana in my samples. The media also went ballistic. That affected my preparations as I became mentally upset,” said Kang from his training base — NIS Patiala.
However, the Punjab athlete said he had taken herbal concoction from a local ‘vaidya’ to counter the rise in body temperature.
“I had some health worries in the beginning of May. My body temperature was going up and at times I was bleeding from my nose. I took Gond Katira, a traditional drink, to cool off my body. Gond Katira has been used by villagers for centuries. But it didn’t work for me, so my friend took me to a local ‘vaidya’ and he gave me a medicine in which a few petals of bhang were also mixed.
The powder had to be taken with milk and is quite popular among our people. I didn’t know that it might create issues,” Kang revealed. Kang’s Asian Championship dreams got a shot in the arm when the AFI called him for trial on Monday where he threw 77m in his first attempt to make it to the side.