Winning an Asian gold at 30!
Gomathi Marimuthu had been the biggest surprise for India with her 800m gold at the recent Asian athletics championships in Doha , but now she is in big doping trouble.
The Tamil Nadu athlete has failed a dope test for a banned steroid at last month’s Doha Asians and now faces a four-year ban. She had tested positive in the Federation Cup held more than a month before that but the National Anti-Doping Agency appears to have kept quiet about it.
“I don’t know what really happened, I will surely be asking for my ‘B’ sample to be tested,” Gomathi told The Hindu from New Delhi on Tuesday evening. “I was supposed to fly to Spala (Poland) today.”
Impressed by her time in the two-lapper, the Athletics Federation of India had planned to train her for the 4x400m relays too.
And Gomathi was supposed to leave from Delhi for Spala on Tuesday with a bunch of athletes for training and competition but the federation has now stopped her from going.
Gomathi’s struggles in life had been one of the best stories to emerge from the Doha Asians. She has been in the form of her life, first winning the gold at the Federation Cup in 2:03.21 and then improving it to a personal best 2:02.70s in Doha for her maiden Asian title.
That gold brought her an automatic berth for this September’s World championships in Doha.
But Gomathi, who was not a national camper, would not even have made it to Doha if the results of the dope tests taken during the Federation Cup held in Patiala from March 15 to 18 had come on time.
“She tested positive in both (Federation Cup and Asians),” confirmed Adille Sumariwalla, the AFI president.
“We have zero tolerance to doping. As far as we are concerned, she is immediately suspended provisionally. She has the right to get her ‘B’ sample tested. If she is innocent and her ‘B’ sample is okay, we take her back, otherwise, straight away she is suspended for four years.”
“We tested all those who were not in the national camp when they came here for the Federation Cup but the results came late,” said chief national coach Bahadur Singh.
“That is also one reason why we have confirmatory trials for the non-National campers.”
India could now lose one of the three golds it had won at the Doha Asians and this could lead to a lot of embarrassment, something which could have been avoided if the results had come on time.
The big question now arises: Why did the National Anti-Doping Agency sleep over a positive dope test for more than a month?