Seven athletes made the cut for the Asian Games on the Opening Day of the National Inter State Athletics being held in Guwahati. While this is the positive news coming out of the tournament, PTI now reports that several laxes in the way the National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) carried out its operations in the meet.
Perhaps the biggest success story out of the seven athletes who qualified for the Jakarta Games was that of Jauna Murmu who qualified for the Women’s 400m hurdles with a best of 57.02 seconds. Jauna is perhaps best remembered as the athlete who finished fourth by a whisker at the 2010 Asian Games held in Guangzhou, China.
Her timing of 57.02 seconds was comfortably within the limits of the 57.52 second qualification mark set for the Asian Games. It was also a mark that bettered the meet record of 57.22 seconds. All in all, Murmu’s display was a fantastic one in Guwahati.
The men’s 400m hurdles saw the top three finishers all cross the qualification marks. A Dharun (49.58 secs), Santhosh Kumar T (50.10 secs) and Jashanjot Singh (50.64secs) finished well within the mandated time of 50.80 seconds. However, as per Athletics Federation of India (AFI) norms, only the top two will earn a berth for the Asian Games.
Dutee Chand and her achievement, however, were swept under the radar. She bettered the qualification mark in the 200m discipline after finishing her heat with a timing of 23.45 secs. She was the fastest finishing ahead of both Asian Games star Hima Das (24.02 secs) and Srabani Nanda (24.04 secs). All three of them have qualified for the finals making it a very hyped event to look forward to. The qualification mark for the event is 23.50 secs. What happens in the finals remains to be seen.
Sandeep Kumari, a Discus Thrower from Haryana became the next person to be assured of an Asian Games berth. She achieved a throw of 58.41mts which bettered the qualification mark that was set as 57mts. Another prodigious talent to assure a berth for herself was young Sanjivani Jadhav. The World University Games Silver medalist is fast cementing her place as a brilliant long distance runner as she finished the 5000mt event with a timing of 15:38.78. This exceeded the meet record of 15:46.92 secs and the qualifying time which was 15:45 secs.
Additionally, Seema Punia is the seventh athlete to be assured of an Asian Games berth after she was earlier exempted from trials.
What is worrying, however, is the laid back attitude of NADA officials at a meet that is this important. Qualifications for the Asian Games should be a careful process especially keeping in mind that India and the contingent from the country has been brought under the scanner at major multi sport events more than once even without a substantial error on their part.
According to PTI, dope samples of the winners were not taken at the Inter State meet and neither were NADA officials prompt. AFI has washed off responsibility and rightly so because, at the end of the day, NADA is an independent organisation not answerable to the Federation.
“The NADA officials are here and they will take the dope samples,” sais AFI secretary CK Valsson. It was assured that the needful would be done by NADA before the end of the day.
India has been given a quota of 102 (52 men and 50 women) for the Asian Games.