The Indian athletics contingent's preparation for the upcoming Asian Games was dealt a severe blow after steeplechase runner Naveen Dagar tested positive for banned substance meldonium during the Inter-State Athletics Meet in Guwahati.
Dagar is a bronze-medallist from the 2014 Incheon Asian Games and breached the qualifying mark of 8:41 seconds during the Guwahati meet.
It is learnt that Dagar was handed provisional suspension by the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) on July 23 after he tested positive for the banned substance during an In-Competition (IC) test by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA).
"AFI has suspended Dagar, who was undergoing high altitude training with other middle and long distance runners in Bhutan. He has tested positive for meldonium. He is now awaiting his B sample report," a source close to the athlete said.
Neither AFI nor NADA issued any official statement. It is a major setback for the AFI as two athletes have so far tested positive for banned substances this week.
With Dagar's suspension, India will go unrepresented in the 3000m race at the quadrennial extravaganza in Jakarta and Palembang, starting August 18.
Earlier, this week javelin thrower Amit Kumar, a bronze medallist at the Inter-State meet, tested positive for banned substance during an 'Out Of Competition (OOC)' Test in Finland conducted under the aegis of Athletes Integrity Unit (AIU).
Bhullar starts with solid 70 on wind-swept opening day in Fiji
Gaganjeet Bhullar shot a solid two-under 70 on a difficult and wind-swept opening day to lie Tied 8th at the Fiji International.
Bhullar, making his maiden appearance in Fiji, was one of the only 18 players who posted a sub-par round at the picturesque Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course.
Ajeetesh Sandhu, meanwhile, recovered superbly from being three-over after 13 to finish at one-over following three birdies between 14th and 17th holes. He was T-33.
Chiragh Kumar shot five-over 77, while Shiv Kapur, who finished second last week in Pattaya, was swept away to eight-over 80, with seven bogeys, a double bogey and just one birdie.
Australia's Andrew Dodt, searching for his first Asian Tour win since 2015, was off to a flying start at five-under-par 67 to grab a share of the first round lead with Australian compatriots Jarryd Felton and Nicholas Cullen and Kiwi Ben Campbell.
Bhullar, who began on the 10th, had four birdies against two bogeys as he managed to find all fairways despite blustery conditions.
Bhullar, seeking his first title of the current season and the ninth of his career, opened with a birdie on 11th, but gave that shot away on the next hole.
He traded a birdie on 16th with a bogey on 18th. On the second nine, the front side of the course, Bhullar birdied first and third holes and moved into red figures and parred the remaining seven for a 70.