Rower Dattu Bhokanal, a member of the Indian quarter that won a gold medal in the quadruple sculls event at the Asian Games, is free to prepare for a spot in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after his two-year suspension on charges of tanking a race during the 2018 Asian Games was on Thursday lifted by the national federation (RFI).Also Read - Kashmiri Students Allegedly Thrashed At Punjab Colleges After India's Humiliating Defeat to Pakistan In T20 World Cup
Bhokanal has Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President Narinder Batra, who intervened into the matter and ensured the ban gets lifted. Also Read - India to Lift Quarantine Requirement For International Arrivals From Today | Check Latest Guidelines Here
Bhokanal was banned after he left the single sculls race midway at the Asian Games. He was banned by the Rowing Federation of India (RFI) in March last year. Also Read - Here's Why Indian Team Took a Knee in T20 World Cup Match Against Pakistan
In his explanation, Bhokanal had said that he fell off the boat as it overturned, and he was also not well on that day. But after Batra asked the RFI to review its decision, the national rowing body informed the IOA chief that Bhokanal’s suspension has been lifted.
“It’s confirmed the 2-year suspension of rower Bhokanal Dattu has been removed with effect from 23 Jan 2020, he will be advised to prepare for Olympic qualification regatta to be held from 27-30 April 2020 at Changju, Korea, provided he is the best sculler out of those who are training at the moment, which will be determined after proper trials are carried out,” RFI President Rajlaxmi Singh Deo said in a letter to Batra.
RFI’s decision to lift the ban on Bhokanal came just a day after Batra asked the national rowing body to provide “all the replies” sought by him by Friday, failing which the case will be referred to the IOC Disciplinary Committee.