Javelin thrower Davinder Singh Kang has claimed that Athletics Federation of India asked him to drop out of the recently-concluded World Championships as he was facing doping charges but the AFI dismissed it as a non issue, saying it had done so to save the country from shame.
Kang, who became the first Indian javelin thrower to reach the final round of a World Championships last week in London, returned positive for marijuana in an in-competition test conducted by NADA during the Indian Grand Prix in May 15.
He was not handed a provisional suspension as it was not mandatory under WADA rules.
"The day I was to leave for London, I was told by an AFI official to drop out of World Championships. He said the IAAF will conduct test and I will be banned. In London also, just hours before the qualification round, I was told not to compete, on the same grounds that I can be banned by the IAAF," Kang told PTI in London.
"I did not know what to do. I cried at my room but after taking advice from some people I decided to compete in the qualification round and I became the first Indian javelin thrower to qualify for the final round," he added.
AFI, however, dismissed Kang's claim with the president Adille Sumiriwalla saying that the federation was within its powers to ask him to drop out. He said the AFI did it to save the country from dope shame at the international stage.
"He (Kang) tested for metabolites of marijuana. It did not attract mandatory suspension and it was optional to be exercised by the athlete. NADA informed us to ensure that he appears before the NADA panel for hearing," Sumariwalla said.
"We requested him (Kang) to exercise the option of provisional suspension and we have the power to do that under the rules. Moreover, we thought it is better for him to remain within the purview of NADA."
The AFI chief said Kang was included in the team despite his doping case and he was requested to drop out exercising the option of provisional suspension.
"He was picked in the team despite his doping case but we made a request to him. I don't know this claim of mental torture, harassment etc. He failed a dope test and we simply requested him to drop out by exercising the option of provisional suspension," he said.
"He (Kang) will be tested by the IAAF and in that case we cannot do anything. If it again returns positive, it will bring shame to the country at the international stage," he added.
Kang also admitted that he had taken some medicine mixed with 'bhang' prepared by local quakes and that could be the reason of his urine sample returning positive for marijuana.
"I was having a lot of bleeding and my body temperature was extremely high. I used allopathic as well as local medicines prepared by quacks. But the problem persisted. Then at last my friend gave me some another local medicine. I did not know that it was mixed with 'bhang'," he said.
"But I have been told that marijuana does not enhance performance. I did not take it intentionally and moreover it (marijuana) does not enhance performance. But it has been made out as if I have murdered somebody."
Kang said that he took advice from shot putter Inderjeet Singh who is facing a NADA Disciplinary Penal hearing for a dope offence.
"I took advice from athletes from outside the country through Facebook. I also took advice from Inderjeet Singh. He (Inderjeet) told me not to drop out. He said nothing will happen," said Kang.
"I have been in WADA list in the last two years, I have been giving dope samples many times and all of them have been negative. I have been tested at the national camp, every time
I won national level medals I have given tests. This one happened due to mistake. I committed mistake but I did this without knowing."
IMAGE: Davinder Singh Kang of India competes during the World Championships in London
Photograph: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters