India’s Gomathi Marimuthu, surprise winner of the women’s 800 metres gold at last month’s Asian Athletics Championships in Doha, stands to lose her title after her sample taken there tested positive for a banned substance.
There is anger, though, within the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) that the National Anti-Doping Authority had not notified them of Marimuthu’s positive test at the Federation Cup held in Patiala from March 15 until 18.
"We have learnt that Gomathi also tested positive in the sample taken during the Federation Cup which was held in mid-March," an AFI official told Press Trust of India.
"But that report is yet to reach us even now, after more than two months.
"If the report was handed to us on time, she would have been stopped from taking part in the Asian Championships and the country would have been saved from this humiliation.
"We have no idea why the NADA did not inform us on Gomathi’s dope positive result to us before the Asian Championships.
"There was more than one month’s time in between."
Gomathi told Sportstar: "I am shocked to find out about the results.
"I will surely be asking for my B-sample to be tested.
"No one has contacted me yet.
"I found out about the test result from the newspaper."
The 30-year-old runner from Tamil Nadu, who had been on the national circuit for a number of years, surprised many observers when she won gold at the Federation Cup in 2min 03.21sec.
She went on to take her first Asian title in 2:2.70 on April 22, thus earning a place at this year’s International Association of Athletics Federations World Championships, due to be held in Doha from September 27 until October 6.
AFI President Adille Sumariwalla, told Sportstar: "She tested positive in both [Federation Cup and Asians].
"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."
India's chief national coach Bahadur Singh added: "We tested all those who were not in the national camp when they came here for the Federation Cup but the results came late."
India won three gold, seven silver and seven bronze medals at the Asian Championships.