Track and field athlete Gomathi Marimuthu, who recently bagged the 800m gold at the Asian Athletics Championship, faces the prospect of losing her medal and a four-year-ban after media reports stated that she had tested positive for a banned substance. On Tuesday, a news report in the Deccan Herald had stated that the athlete had tested positive for a banned substance, although it did not name the substance. The athlete denied the allegation to The News Minute.
However, late Tuesday late evening, the PTI reported that Gomathi had been handed a provisional suspension. According to the report, the 'A' sample of the athlete, taken during the Asian Athletics Championships, had tested positive for a banned steroid. She faces the prospect of losing her gold medal and a four-year ban, if the 'B' sample also tests positive.
A top source from the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) quoted by the news agency said, “Yes, Gomathi has tested positive for a steroid and she has been placed under provisional suspension.”
The source also said that Gomathi had tested positive earlier in the sample that had been taken during the Federation Cup held in March this year, a month before the Asian Athletics Championship. However, the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA), which had collected the sample from Gomathi during the Federation Cup in Patiala, had failed to communicate its results to the AFI on time, added the source.
The AFI official told the news agency, “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 Gomathi’s dope positive result to us before the Asian Championships. There was more than one month’s time in between.”
The AFI source added that Gomathi had not been in the national camp, a recommendation that the AFI has reportedly made in the past for athletes taking part in international sporting events.
The 30-year-old athlete won the gold medal in the women's 800m race at the 2019 Asian Athletics Championships held in Doha, Qatar, clocking a personal best of 2:02:70 (2 minutes, 2.70 seconds). At the Federation Cup held a month earlier, she clocked a personal best of 2:03.21 (2 minutes, 3.21 seconds). Expressing disappointment that her reaction was not sought, Gomathi told TNM on Tuesday that she was still seeking clarity from the AFI on the matter.