New Delhi: Anju Bobby George, who has been appointed as the national observer for athletics, has written to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and the Sports Authority of India (SAI) about no dope tests were conducted at the recently concluded 57th National Open Athletics Championships held in Chennai.
As per Anju, the National Anti-Doping Agency’s (NADA) doping control officers were not present during the event which took place from September 25 to 28.
According to The Indian Express report, Anju wrote: “The selection period/screening of performances has started for the next Commonwealth Games with the Open Nationals. We cannot properly evaluate the performances of athletes in meets where NADA testing facility is not there and even national records set by clean athletes would not be ratified. We need to ensure that NADA testing is available in prominent meets like Open Nationals to avoid possible controversies,”
However, NADA director general Navin Agarwal claimed that National Open Athletics Championships doesn’t hold much significance.
“It was an open championships, I believe, and it does not have much relevance and significance. We may have send doping control officers (DCOs) earlier. But at any particular time, we have to see the availability of DCOs and risk assessment also has to be considered. During that time there could have been a more important event happening,” Agarwal was quoted as saying in the report.
Interestingly, as per the report, the Athletics Federation of India had informed NADA about the dates of the Open Nationals two months before the event.
“I had written to NADA and informed them about the dates of the Open Nationals in July. However, they did not get back. On the first day of the championships, when we realised that there were no dope tests done, it was clear that NADA had decided not to screen athletes at this meet. The National Open Athletics is a major event on the calendar and dope tests should have been conducted,” Arun Mendiratta, the chairman of the medical committee of the Athletics Federation of India, said.
Meanwhile, Anju has said that her letter was part of an internal communication between an observer and the government.