The national record that wasn't: officials trip long jumper

On Monday, long jumper Premkumar Kumaravel, 20, was overjoyed when he recorded a leap of 8.09 metres at the 79th Railways Athletics meet here, "breaking" Amritpal Singh's nine-year-old national record of 8.08 metres. But his joy was shortlived. His jump could not be ratified as a national record because of bungling organisers.

Kumaravel's fifth attempt cannot get official recognition because National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) officials were not present at the stadium to collect his blood or urine samples. Neither the Railway Sports Promotion Board (RSPB) nor the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) informed NADA about the dates and time of the athletics meet.

"In the absence of anti-doping protocol at the meet, his leap cannot be ratified by the AFI because he was not tested immediately after the event. Winners must give samples for testing within an hour of completing an event. This is a well-established international practice and cannot be violated," said AFI technical committee chief Tony Daniel.

In fact, soon after the jump, Kumaravel, who has crossed the eight-metre mark on three occasions this year, tried to locate the dope control room in the stadium, but was told that the facility wasn't available.

"This case is similar to that of 100-metre sprinter Anil Kumar, whose best performance of 10.21 seconds in Bangalore is not considered the national record as no dope test was carried out. Kumar's official national record stands at 10.30 seconds," said Daniel.

NADA director general Mukul Chatterjee said they were not informed about the event or asked to send officials. "We received a letter from AFI at 3.30 pm today asking for dope control officers to conduct tests at the Railways Athletics meet. Our officers will conduct tests there from tomorrow. It is unfortunate that the request did not come earlier because we would have liked to conduct tests from the first day itself," he said.

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