AFI president confident national campers are clean

"People who are not in my (national) camp, I don’t know. People in my camp get tested every 10 days, eight days, seven days, like that. So I’d be very surprised if one of them gets caught," AFI president Adille Sumariwalla said.

Inderjeet Singh was not part of the national camp.   -  R. Ragu

For the last few months, athletics buffs have been wondering about the magical fuel that has been pushing Indian athletes to amazing performances.

So, the news of Asian shot put champion Inderjeet Singh failing a dope test did not surprise many. In fact, there is a feeling all around that this was sort of expected.

Athletics Federation of India president Adille Sumariwalla said he was shocked and disappointed by the development, but that it would be premature to make a statement before Inderjeet’s ‘B’ sample is tested.

Is he worried that there could be more athletes failing dope tests, especially since many of them were close to the world’s best at recent meets?

“I have no worries. And especially, people who have been in my (national) camps, I have no worries because they were tested so many times. For example, M.R. Poovamma might have been tested 15 times,” Sumariwalla told Sportstar on Tuesday.

“People who are not in my camp, I don’t know. People in my camp get tested every 10 days, eight days, seven days, like that. So I’d be very surprised if one of them gets caught.”

Inderjeet not a national camper

Incidentally, Inderjeet, the only Indian to strike gold at the World University Games (last year at Guwangju, South Korea) and who was a bronze medallist at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games, is one of the athletes who has not been training at the national camp.

Asian Games women’s discus throw champion Seema Antil Punia, who trained for a few days in dope-tainted Russia before proceeding to Rio, is another. Nirmala Sheoran, who virtually came out of nowhere to qualify for the Olympics in the individual 400m, is another athlete who was not at the national camp till her amazing recent run.

So, are there fears that they could fail dope tests?

“I don’t know, the thing is, I can only talk about what is in my control. Non-campers also get tested, but how they get tested, when they get tested, we don’t know.”

Meanwhile, AFI secretary C.K. Valson said that if there are more positive dope tests, it could come from athletes outside the national camp. “I don’t think there is more to come, if there is, it should be from outside the national camp,” he said.

Framed?

Does he think Inderjeet could have been framed, as the athlete argues? “We cannot stand with any of these things. If he is with the national camp and anything happens, yes. If he is out of the national camp, how can this happen?” asked Valson.