An Indian sprinter who ran alone in a 100 metres final in September after his seven competitors fled drug officials has now failed a drugs test himself.
Lalit Kumar took victory at the Delhi Athletics Championships on 26 September after the other seven qualifiers disappeared from the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
The seven all cited cramps and strains for their withdrawal, though officials believe that they had been informed of the imminent arrival of officials from India’s anti-doping agency (NADA).
It left Kumar to take an unopposed win, but the sprinter reportedly tested positive for anabolic steroid drostanolone metabolite, a banned substance, on the day of the race.
Kumar has denied doping, but said that he will not lodge an appeal as he cannot afford the testing fee.
“Had I taken any performance-enhancing drugs, I would have fled like the rest,” Kumar told The Indian Express. “I have never taken any drugs… I feel some coaches are involved in framing me.
“I went to the NADA office and was told that I have to pay Rs 16,500 (£157) for my B sample to be tested. My career has been ruined even before it started. To appeal, I need to find some kind of proof and I don’t have any right now.”
India ranked second behind Russia in anti-doping rule violations in a World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) report published earlier this year.
Sunny Joshua, the president of the Delhi State Athletics Association, said that a committee formed to investigate the seven runners’ disappearance would soon release a report.
The individuals in question could face two-year bans.
“‘The punishment for [Lalit Kumar] will be handed by the NADA,” Joshua told India Today. “But we had formed a committee to look into how the seven other runners had pulled out. The committee will submit its report in two-three days.
‘’We are considering banning them for two years if they are found to have pulled out of the race without plausible reasons.
‘’The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) had also formed a committee to look into the matter. We will submit the report to the AFI.”
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