The opening day of the 59th Inter-State Athletics Championships here on Tuesday saw no anti-doping officials in attendance. More significantly, there is little sign of any official arriving here anytime soon.
The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) had earlier claimed that a team of National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) officials would be arriving in the city on Wednesday. That, however, seems uncertain now. “You will get to know in due course, today perhaps there was no team,” was all NADA director general Navin Aggarwal was willing to say about the absence of officials to collect samples on Tuesday.
When further asked about the officials arriving on Wednesday, as scheduled, he remained non-committal. “I cannot say anything about tomorrow but samples can be collected later also,” he reiterated.
AFI treasurer PK Srivastava said it was an open invitation to athletes to take banned substances. “When every athlete knows they will not be tested at such an important event, they are free to do whatever they want,” he claimed.
Interestingly, Sports Authority of India (SAI) officials were supposed to provide sample collection kits to the NADA team. “We were supposed to hand over the kits but no one turned up today. But they might be bringing their own kits,” the officials said.
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