Indian steeplechase runner Naveen Dagar has been suspended from the upcoming Asian Games 2018 after he failed a dope test in what is being termed as a massive blow to the country’s medal hopes.
Dagar, who bagged a bronze medal at the 2014 Asiad, was tested positive for banned meldonium, as per reports.
The National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) carried out the doping test, when the 30-year-old was participating in an inter-state competition in Guwahati.
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"Yes, Dagar was suspended on July 23. Meldonium was found in his sample. Though a B Sample report is awaited," a leading press agency quoted an anonymous source.
"It is disappointing because he was a medal hopeful and India will now go unrepresented in the 3,000 metre race."
The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) made no official comment on the issue, but the AFI’s president Adille Sumariwalle took to Twitter on Thursday and wrote that there would be ‘zero tolerance on doping’.
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"AFI has always said that in national camp athletes are tested every few days and if they are stupid to dope they WILL get caught. Hence the extra smart ones either don't dope or avoid camp," he said. "The FIGHT is ON."
Meldonium is a substance that boosts energy and endurance power.
Russian tennis superstar Maria Sharapova was tested positive for meldonium in 2016 and was banned for two years.
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Dagar’s suspension comes weeks after javelin thrower Amit Kumar failed a similar test in Finland. However, Kumar is not a part of Asian Games team after failing to qualify.
A 540-plus India squad is expected to fly to Indonesia for the Asian Games 2018, which is scheduled to begin from 18th August.