Shot putter Saurabh Vij of Delhi has tested positive for a prohibited substance. He is the first athlete from the Indian team for the Commonwealth Games to have tested positive.

Twenty-three-year-old Vij along with 18-year-old discus thrower Akash Antil, who has also tested positive, was subjected to testing during the inter-State championships held at Patiala from August 5 to 8.

Both were provisionally suspended by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA), and the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) confirmed the ‘positive' cases.

Both tested positive for the ‘non-specified' stimulant methylhexaneamine, which seems to be the ‘drug of choice' among a large section of the sportspersons getting ready for the Commonwealth Games, going by the number of cases reported for that medicine among wrestlers also.

Vij had raised quite a stir here on July 22 last when he threw the shot to a distance of 20.65 metres, a mark never before achieved by an Indian, in the Delhi State championship.

It was not ratified as a National record, however, since there was no dope-testing. Shakti Singh who holds the National record of 20.42m, had a 20.60m in Bangalore in 2000 that was also not ratified for lack of dope control in that meet.

Vij's 20.65m has, however, been placed as the best in Asia for the season by the Asian Athletics Association (AAA) according to reports.

Facing two-year ban

The ‘non-specified' stimulant will mean both Vij and Antil will face a two-year suspension if the charges are proved after ‘B' sample test and a hearing before the National Anti-Doping Disciplinary panel.

A ‘specified' stimulant would have meant that an athlete would have had the chance to escape with a lighter punishment if he could prove that he had not taken the drug to enhance his performance.

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