Athlete Nirmala Sheoran Fails Dope Test; Not Surprised, Says AFI Head

Nirmala Sheoran

Nirmala Sheoran, one of India’s top women 400m runners for some years now, has tested positive for a banned substance. She is a quarter-mile runner and tested positive on Tuesday.

Alongside Sheoran, middle-distance runners Sanjivani Yadav, Jhuma Khatun, discus thrower Sandeep Kumari and shot putter Naveen have also tested positive for banned substances. The tests were conducted by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

However, Nirmala failing the dope test hasn’t turned out to be a surprise for the Athletics Federation of India. President Adille Sumariwala said, “Nirmala never attended any national camp before the Asian Games and that’s why, we purposely didn’t select her for either of the two relay events (4x400m women and mixed). We could have lost two medals because of her. Now it’s all over with a four-year ban,” PTI reported.

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Nirmala stood fourth in the women’s 400m at the Asian Games in Jakarta earlier this year. She also won the gold at the Asian Championships last year in Bhubaneswar. Owing to negative results in tests, she has been provisionally suspended. The tests were conducted in WADA’s Montreal laboratory.

“None of the athletes, who have tested positive, are regular national campers. The Bhutan camp that you are talking about, some of them joined after they were tested at the Guwahati Nationals,” Sumariwala said.

“If you look at our regular campers, they are regularly tested. They are aware about the no needle policy and every other aspect of anti-doping measures. This result reasserts that athletes should stay in national camps,” the former India sprinter said.

Weightlifter Poonam Dalal has also failed the dope test.

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