Four male judokas who were in the running to represent India at the upcoming Hangzhou Asian Games have failed their doping tests.
According to a report by The New Indian Express, some of the dope-tainted judokas were selected at the Asian Games trials in April, while some took part in the Dushanbe Grand Prix, hosted by Tajikistan from June 2 to June 4.
This shocking development has cast an ambience of gloomy uncertainty surrounding India’s judo prospects at the Asiad.
Athletes were tested at the Sporting Authority of India center by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) prior to their departure for the Dushanbe Grand Prix last month. There were six male judokas in the fourteen-member delegation sent by India. By the time it was revealed that two male judokas returned dope positive, they had already participated in the Dushanbe Grand Prix.
The Asian Games trials were held from April 5 to 8 at KDJ Indoor Stadium, New Delhi.
What could This Mean For Indian Judo at the Asian Games?
The three weight categories under which the aforementioned four judokas competed, now faces the very realistic possibility of being left unrepresented at the Asian Games in October.
A coach stated, “In one category, both the first and second-placed judokas are provisionally suspended.”
The Indian Olympic Association, Sporting Authority of India and Judo Federation of India will have to scramble to find potential last-minute replacements or succumb to leaving the affected categories unrepresented.
Indian Judo’s Track Record At The Asian Games
India has only seen five podium finishes (all bronze medals) in Judo at the Asian Games. India won their maiden medal in judo all the way back in 1986 at the Seoul Asian Games. Cawas Billimoria, Sandeep Byala, Shyam Singh Gujrar and Bannu Singh clinched bronze medals in their respective categories in 1986.
India’s last judo triumph came in the shape of Poonam Chopra’s bronze medal in the 56kg lightweight category at the 1994 Hiroshima Asian Games.