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He gave dope sample voluntarily, so nobody points finger of suspicion: Sreeshankar's father

Murali Sreeshankar's father said that his son gave a dope sample voluntarily to avoid suspicions after a jump of 8.41m at Inter-State athletics.

Murali Sreeshankar Long Jump

Murali Sreeshankar getting trained by his father coach S Murali (Source: Starsunfolded)



Updated: 18 Jun 2023 11:21 AM GMT

Star long jumper Murali Sreeshankar on Sunday "voluntarily" gave a dope sample to the NADA officials after producing a big leap of 8.41m to qualify for the upcoming World Championships so that "nobody points any finger of suspicion", his father told PTI.

The 24-year-old Sreeshankar, representing Kerala, needed just one jump in the qualification round to record a personal best of 8.41m, which is just one-centimetre shy of Jeswin Aldrin's national record of 8.42m set earlier this year. Aldrin also qualified for Monday's final after finishing second with a jump of 7.83m in hot and humid conditions.

After his big jump which took him past the World Championships (August 19-27 in Budapest) qualifying mark of 8.25m, Sreeshankar went to the collection room to provide his urine sample despite the National Anti-Doping Agency officials not asking for it.

"Probably since it was not the final, Sreeshankar was not asked by the NADA team to give the dope sample. But he thought he should do it voluntarily so that nobody points any finger of suspicion at him (after the big jump). So, he gave the sample. They (the NADA team) accepted the sample," Sreeshankar's father and coach S Murali told PTI.

A NADA team had arrived here before the five-day championship started on June 15. Medal winners in various events were seen being called by NADA officials for dope samples.

A few silver and bronze winners said they were not called to give samples. A top official of the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) said that an athlete can voluntarily come to provide a dope sample but it is for the NADA officials to agree to it or not. "

"Yes (athletes can come to give samples voluntarily). But, it is the discretion of the sample collecting officer whether to take it or not," the official said.

Incidentally, Sreeshankar is in the latest registered testing pool of the NADA. He is among 77 track and field athletes listed in the RTP of the 2023 Quarter 2 (April to June).

Murali, who is also a former international triple jumper, said his son landed even farther than 8.41m in the warm-up jump just before the competition.

"We had not planned that he would do it in the first or second attempt. He went for a normal jump, but the warm-up jump which went even farther must have given him the confidence," Murali said.

"He did not exert himself too much since it was also the qualification round. He is yet to peak and we are hoping for him to be in the top form during the World Championships. But now, one thing is clear: he can do 8m-plus consistently."

Incidentally, it was here at the Kalinga Stadium long jump pit where Sreeshankar had produced 8.20m during the Indian Open Championships in 2018, which was considered a freak jump by many at the time.

"We have avoided a lot of competition to give him more recovery time and keep him fresh before the next event. We are keeping 10 days gap between the two competitions. We could have got more money -- USD 3500 per competition -- by taking part in (invitational) events, but we said no, we are not doing too many competitions. We are not going for the money." Murali also said that Sreeshankar, who had won a silver in the 2022 Commonwealth Games, refused to apply for the Arjuna Award this time, saying he would want to do it after winning gold.

"Sreeshankar watches Hindi movies on his mobile or tablet when he is not training or competing and listens to music," Murali said of his son who is now an assistant manager at the Reserve Bank of India.

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