India’s flag-bearer at the opening ceremony Krishna Poonia has not faced dope testing anxiety before and after major competitions. The 2010 Commonwealth Games discus champion (she finished seventh in the 2012 London Olympics) is one of the few elite Indian athletes on the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) list and is on call on a day-by-day basis for testing.
“For the last six years, I have always been ready for tests and as part of the ‘whereabouts’ clause, keep WADA informed about my location, and keep aside an hour daily for testing.”
The Indian contingent ran into a doping controversy when the National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) issued a statement that one of the three women shot putters in the National squad at AAC had tested positive for a banned substance at an earlier competition in Chennai. The development may affect other field athletes in the squad.
As a competitor out there, she admits the news is disturbing, but does not feel extra pressure.
“It is a particular athlete’s problem. I have not been named in a positive dope test, so I do not have to face it. My mind is clear. I feel bad for the athlete in trouble because this is the Asian Championship and questions will be aimed at us; we are teammates.”
Krishna insists on blocking out any controversies and instead focusing on the job at hand.
“My confidence is based on the fact that I have done nothing wrong and am always ready to be tested. The system is such that I need to be careful, to the extent of what I am eating or drinking, whether I am drinking water from an opened bottle or a sealed one.”
The burly Haryana thrower is firm about resisting the lure of taking shortcuts to reach the top.
“The thought of taking illegal ways to get better did not cross my mind from the start of my athletics career. I did not worry about catching up with the competition and trusted training to get me there. It is helping me now when I am competing after a break.”