New Delhi, August 2: 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 on Thursday (August 2).
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.
The drug, sold under the name Mildronate and originally develop to treat low blood flow, is made in Latvia. It is used to treat ischemia, a disease in which main organs like the heart and brain suffer from low blood flow.
Athletes who take the drug will be able to take in more physical workloads. It also helps in their endurance and speeds up their recovery time.
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).