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Year Ender 2019: Neeraj, Hima sidelined by injuries in yet another year dope-tainted year

Hima Das

Bengaluru, December 27: Indian athletics' two biggest stars -- Neeraj Chopra and Hima Das -- were largely sidelined due to injuries, leaving the sport with very little to celebrate and mired in doping and age fraud controversies in yet another barren year in terms of global medals

As usual, doping controversies hurt athletics with the biggest offender being half-miler Gomathi Marimuthu, who was stripped of her gold she won in the Asian Championships after testing positive for steroids

Sanjivani Jadhav, who also won a bronze during the Asian Championships, was suspended provisionally for failing a dope test as her sample was found to contain a banned masking agent.

Shot-putter Manpreet Kaur was banned for four years by the National Anti-Doping Agency for flunking four dope tests in 2017.

Athletics also became the third dirtiest sport in the country, behind bodybuilding and weightlifting, with nearly 20 doping cases this year.

Neeraj injured

Neeraj injured

In 2018, India watched with joy, the transformation of Neeraj into a world-class javelin thrower as he grew in maturity after the 2016 world junior record to clinch both the Commonwealth and Asian Games gold medals.

But the 22-year-old from a village near Panipat injured himself during training in Patiala and underwent surgery on his right elbow in May this year. As a result, he remained on the sidelines and could not defend his Asian Championships gold in Doha. He also missed the IAAF World Championships Doha 2019.

Hima's fate

Hima's fate

Junior world champion quarter-miler Hima was in action in the first part of the season, but the lower back injury she suffered after the 2018 Asian Games returned to haunt her. Hima won six gold medals in competitions sans big names in Czech Republic and Poland.

The 19-year-old however, pulled out of the Asian Championships without finishing her first 400M race. She was named in the IAAF World Championships Doha 2019 team, but was dropped at the last minute by the Athletics Federation of India.

Dutee's feat

Dutee's feat

Amid the many disappointments, Dutee Chand scripted history by becoming the first Indian woman athlete to clinch a gold medal at the World University Games, winning the 100M event.

The country also booked 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games berths in mixed 4x400M relay and men's 3,000M steeplechase event (Avinash Sable).

Doha Worlds

Doha Worlds

In the IAAF World Championships Doha 2019, the 27-member Indian contingent performed better than expected but did not win any medal.

The Indians entered the finals in three events -- mixed 4x400M relay, men's 3,000M steeplechase and women's javelin throw. Out of the three finals, 3,000M steeplechaser Sable and the mixed 4x400M relay team booked Tokyo Olympics quotas.

(With PTI inputs)

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Story first published: Friday, December 27, 2019, 12:41 [IST]
Other articles published on Dec 27, 2019
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