Dope-tainted Ashwini back in Indian team for World Athletics

New Delhi, July 20 (IANS) Dope-tainted runner Ashwini Akkunji, double gold medallist in the Asian Games, was back in the main fold Saturday as she was named by the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) in the Indian women's 4x400m relay squad for next month's World Championships in Moscow.

Ashwini's selection in the Indian team comes two weeks after her ban ended July 3. She was tested positive in 2011.

Ashwini is now a part of the 15-member team for the Aug 10-18 World Championships.

The other members of 4x400m relay are M.R. Poovamma, Tintu Luka, Anu Mariam Jose, Nirmala and Anilda Thomas.

"The 4x400m relay team, which had won a gold in Asian Athletics Championships in Pune, is likely to do better in Moscow. K.T. Irfan, who had finished 10th in London Olympics, is likely to improve his performance," the AFI said in a release after the selection committee meeting chaired by Gurbachan Singh Randhawa.

Poovamma, Tintu, Anu and Nirmala, were a part of the women's squad, that had won the gold for India in recently held Asian Athletics Championships in Pune that earned India qualification for Moscow.

Six walkers were also named in the squad. K.T. Irfan, Gurmeet Singh and Chandan Singh were named in the men's 20 km walk. The trio qualified for Moscow with 'A' standard. Amritsar girl Kushbir Kaur has been named for the women's 20 km walk.

In the men's 50 km walk, Basant Bahadur Rana and Sandeep Kumar will represent the country.

Vikas Gowda (men's discus throw), Sudha Singh (women's 3000m steeplechase) and Renjith Maheswary (men's triple jump) complete the list of 15 athletes to represent India.

The team, except for Gowda, will leave from here Aug 6. Gowda will join the team in Moscow.

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