NEW DELHI: India’s 2016 Kabaddi World Cup-winning team member and a gold medallist at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games, former captain Ajay Thakur, has become the country’s first athlete to be provisionally suspended by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) for his repeated failures to disclose his whereabouts information to the anti-doping watchdog, TOI has learned.
This is the first time in the history of Indian doping that an athlete has been provisionally suspended for his whereabouts failure.
Thakur was served the anti-doping rule violation (ADRV) notice on March 19 last month under the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) article 2.4. He is facing a two-year suspension.
The article 2.4 of the world anti-doping ‘Code’ reads: “Any combination of three missed tests or filing failures by an athlete in a Registered Testing Pool (RTP) within a 12 month period is considered an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV), subject to a two year ban.”
NADA Director General, Navin Agarwal, told TOI: “We have been ensuring that all registered testing pool (RTP) players submit their whereabouts on due date so that they can be tested anytime without prior notice. Some of the RTP athletes who had failed to do so, proper notices were issued to them by NADA. They were given the opportunity to explain why they failed to file their whereabouts. As per rules, once a player has failed to submit his whereabouts for three consecutive times in a period of 12 months, then it is deemed to be an anti-doping rule violation and the athlete is placed under suspension as per article 2.4.”
Thakur, a Padma Shri and Arjuna awardee, is a celebrated kabaddi player with several laurels adorning his India blazer in his nearly decade-and-a-half professional career.
He was the captain of the national team which finished on top of the podium at the 2017 Asian Kabaddi Championship in Gorgan, Iran. At the Ahmedabad kabaddi World Cup, which India won by defeating Iran, he was adjudged the No. 1 raider with most raid points (68).
He was part of the Incheon Asiad gold and Jakarta bronze-winning teams, besides representing three franchises across seven editions of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL). The 34-year-old is currently posted as Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) with Himachal Pradesh police.
In other doping offences, multiple-time national champion weightlifter Rakhi Halder and greco-roman wrestler Manish Kundu are among the four sportspersons who have been provisionally suspended by NADA.
Tokyo Olympic probable, Halder (64kg), who was suspended on March 5, had created history in January 2018 when she broke Karnam Malleswari’s 20-year-old national record (Athens, 1999) in clean and jerk en route her gold medal total lift of 230kg at the senior Nationals in Mangalore.
Similarly, wrestler Kundu, who was provisionally suspended on March 17, is the reigning national champion in the 60kg category and had been to Italy last month to participate in the Rome ranking tournament, where Bajrang Punia (65kg) had won gold.
The other two athletes to have been put under suspension are 10km race walker Vishvendra Singh and Sunil Vishwakarma.