Triple jumper A.B. Arun’s National Games gold, which he stunningly won with a personal best effort of 16.79m in Goa in November, has been taken away. The 25-year-old had broken Asian Games bronze medallist Praveen Chithravel’s National Games record of 16.68m (2022) with his last-round effort in Goa.
The updated results of the National Games, now available on the Athletics Federation of India’s website, has marked Arun as DQ (disqualified) and has explained that it is for a dope offence. The National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) had been a very active body in Goa. Services’ Karthik Unnikrishnan, who finished second with 16.57m, has now been moved up to the gold.
“My coach (Navy’s Shankar) told me about it, he sent me the updated results too but I have not got any intimation or letter about the issue,” the 25-year-old Arun, a Navy athlete who competed under the Services banner in the National Games, told The Hindu on Monday.
“I’ve been very tense since I got the news. Now, I should talk to my coach and decide what I should do. I’ve come to Ballari for the JSW (Inspire Institute of Sport) trials, I came here about a week ago.”
Shankar, who trains Navy jumpers at Thenipalam near Kozhikode and who had coached Arun at the National Games and National Open earlier, said the triple jumper had mentioned the details of the proteins and gingseng, which he had used, in the form given to the dope-control officials.
“But he missed mentioning voveran, which he had taken for pain relief, in the form,” said Shankar.
Arun, who had won the National Open gold in Bengaluru a fortnight before the National Games with 16.46 — a personal best then — had a very impressive 2023 which made him the third best jumper in the country last year. His best till 2022 was 16.37m.
The National Games results of eight other athletes were also disqualified for dope offence but Arun was the lone gold medallist in the bunch.
The others are Goa’s Ajay Kumar (bronze in 5,000 and sixth in 10,000m), Punjab’s Harjodhvir Singh (fifth in 5,000m & DNF in 10,000m), Haryana’s 4x400m relay runner Parveen Kumar (team was fourth), Uttar Pradesh’s Farman Ali (seventh in 20km walk) in the men’s section and Punjab’s Kamaljeet Kaur (200m silver, 100m sixth — she was also the National Open 200m champion earlier), Gujarat’s Drashti Chaudhari (5,000m bronze), UP’s Rachana (hammer bronze) and Kerala’s V. Neha (team won 4x100m relay silver) in the women’s section.