Antil cleared of dope charges

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> The Athletics Federation of India on Friday absolved discus thrower Seema Antil of doping charges.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:38 IST
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New Delhi:

In a shocking cover-up, the Athletics Federation of India on Friday absolved discus thrower Seema Antil of doping charges through a panel which it said had heard her case on a fast-track basis keeping the Doha Asian Games in mind. The AFI claimed it had constituted the hearing panel as per the rules of the international body (IAAF) but left several other doubts uncleared as to when it was formed and how the surprising ruling came about. "The hearing panel processed the hearing on fast basis and also called for all the records. Based on the subsequent test carried out in the dope lab, including Bangkok WADA accredited Lab, it deliberated over the matter at length," AFI Secretary Lalit Bhanot said in a terse press statement. "The hearing panel is of the view that Ms Seema Antil has not violated any rules and she is innocent. The charges against her due to the conduct should be dropped." The panel relied on "factual circumstances" to come to the conclusion that the Melbourne Commonwealth Games silver medallist be allowed to take part in the mega event. "On the basis of the factual circumstances AFI considered it appropriate that she should be allowed to participate in her event in the ongoing Asian Games at Doha," it said. In accordance with the ruling, the 23-year-old Haryana girl left for Doha on Thursday, the statement said. Persistent queries earlier to the AFI had met with dismissive replies as well as the insistence that Seema was not caught for doping at all. Seema had quit a pre-Games training camp in Muscat in mysterious circumstances and it later transpired that she had reportedly tested positive for a banned drug in tests conducted by Sports Authority of India. Although there was no official confirmation, sources had said she had tested positive for a steroid and had been withdrawn from the Games. Bhanot himself has left for Doha where the athletics event began on Thursday. (PTI)

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