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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Gomathi Marimuthu tests positive ! ~ doping in Sports !!

In the field of athletics, more specifically, sprint race – Usain Bolt is an emperor.  Bolt improved upon his second 100 m world record of 9.69 with 9.58 seconds in 2009 – the biggest improvement since the start of electronic timing. He twice broke  the 200 metres world record, setting 19.30 in 2008 and 19.19 in 2009. His achievements as a sprinter have earned him the media nickname "Lightning Bolt".  In case you still remember 2008 Olympic Games, held at Beijing in Aug, 2008 – where a total of 10,942 athletes from 204 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) competed in 28 sports and 302 events.  Not many of us may remember or know that Nesta Carter was (yes, WAS) a Gold medallist.  Nesta Carter, a Jamaican sprinter, was successful as part of the Jamaican 4 x 100 metres relay team, taking gold and setting successive world records at the 2011 World Championships and 2012 London Olympics.   Almost a decade later, the International Olympic Committee sanctioned Carter for doping at the 2008 Olympic Games, meaning that Carter lost gold medal for the Men's 4x100m Relay ~ and that resulted in a medal less for Usain Bolt too .. ..

Doping in Sports in nothing new ~ perhaps in earlier era, tests were not as severe ad perhaps some got away with it ..the sporting World that had always admired Lance Armstrong for his resilience, was shocked to hear the doping allegations.  When Seoul Olympics was on air live in 1988, the heart throb was Ben Johnson, born in Jamaica but running for Canada – one of the firsts to break the 10 sec barrier.  

My favourite writer Sujatha wrote a novel in Kumudam titled ’10 second mutham’ – a story of an Indian female athlete who is trained to break the barrier of 10 seconds and her emotional relationship with the coach formed the nucleus of that story.  

It was indeed thrilling watch to watch Ben Johson finish with 9.79 seconds. Actually closer to the finish, he turned his neck to see where his competitors were and started celebrating with a hallmark rise of fingers. He was praised so much and the race would remain etched in one’s memory. It is another matter that he was snatched of the Gold in a few days due to his testing positive for the prohibited drug. From the start he dominated reportedly hitting a max speed of 30 mph (48/3 kmph) and completed the lap in 48 strides.The same Olympics also showcased - Florence Delorez Griffith Joyner (1959-1998), considered the fastest woman of all time.  Known as "Flo-Jo", Griffith Joyner was the big favourite for the titles in the sprint events at the 1988 Summer Olympics.  Though records keep tumbling down, for women her record of 10.49 seconds remains. 

Photoed here is : Gina Lückenkemper, German track and field athlete who won gold in the 200 metres at the 2015 European Junior Championships. She took part in the 100 metres at the 2015 and 2017 World Championships.

Gomathi Marimuthu had been the biggest surprise for India with her 800m gold at the recent Asian athletics championships in Doha, and immediately back home, some were trying to portray as if she had been neglected, she had no money to buy running shoes even (suggesting that her shoes had different colours, which was more of a fashion statement) and burying the fact that she had been employed in Govt dept as a sports recruit .. ..   now she is in big doping trouble.

The Tamil Nadu athlete has failed a dope test for a banned steroid at last month’s Doha Asians and now faces a four-year ban. It is another news that She had tested positive in the Federation Cup held more than a month before that !“I don’t know what really happened, I will surely be asking for my ‘B’ sample to be tested,” Gomathi reportedly informed the media  from New Delhi on Tuesday evening. “I was supposed to fly to Spala (Poland) today.”

Impressed by her time in the two-lapper, the Athletics Federation of India had planned to train her for the 4x400m relays too. Gomathi was supposed to leave from Delhi for Spala on Tuesday with a bunch of athletes for training and competition but the federation has now stopped her from going. Gomathi’s struggles in life had been one of the best stories to emerge from the Doha Asians. She has been in the form of her life, first winning the gold at the Federation Cup in 2:03.21 and then improving it to a personal best 2:02.70s in Doha for her maiden Asian title.That gold brought her an automatic berth for this September’s World championships in Doha.

But Gomathi, who was not a national camper, would not even have made it to Doha if the results of the dope tests taken during the Federation Cup held in Patiala from March 15 to 18 had come on time.She tested positive in both (Federation Cup and Asians),” confirmed Adille Sumariwalla, the AFI president. He added - “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 could now lose one of the three golds it had won at the Doha Asians  and that does not augur well for the Sports in the Nation.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
22nd May 2019.

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