LUCKNOW: Despite the absence of National Anti-doping Agency (NADA) officials on the first day of the 59th Inter-State Athletics Championship here in Lucknow, Athletics Federation of India (AFI) planning commission chairman Lalit Bhanot said there is no need to worry about any athlete testing positive during the World Championship, which will be held in Doha.
“Most of the World Championship bound athletes are campers and have been tested regularly. There is nothing to worry about. Even for the rest, the government is understanding and we will find a way to make sure everything is in place,” Bhanot said.
The suspension of the National Dope-testing Laboratory is another headache that the AFI will have to deal with. The last date to send entries for the Worlds in Doha is September 6. Bhanot is confident it shouldn’t be a problem.
“We will send it to laboratories abroad. It will be expensive. But there is nothing we can do about it. In six months, the suspension will be withdrawn and everything will be back to normal.”
Bhanot also said there is no need to panic about who will make the cut. He feels the relay team is sure to bring back a medal from Qatar. A lot has been spoken about the dip in the performance of star names like Hima Das. However, Bhanot feels it is only a matter of time before the elite athletes get back to their best.
While NADA officials were absent at the PAC Athletics Stadium on Tuesday, they will definitely be there to collect samples in the coming days, according to NADA director general Navin Aggarwal.
“I cannot tell you when exactly it will happen. But we will collect samples of athletes for sure. Samples can be collected after the event also,” he told this daily.