Renjith Maheswary may get reprieve

New Delhi, Sep 2 (IANS) Going by circumstantial evidence, triple jumper Renjith Maheshwari, who reportedly failed a dope test in 2008, may get a reprieve paving the way for his getting the Arjuna Award.

The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) in its report to the sports ministry Monday said they have no knowledge of any action taken against Maheshwary failing a dope test for banned substance during the 48th Open National Athletics in Kochi in 2008.

It has put the ball in ministry's court since the National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) was formed only a year later.

"AFI had reported that they do not have any information about any action taken against him. We will process his case tomorrow (Tuesday)," a top official in the sports ministry told IANS on the condition of anonymity.

Sports Minister Jitendra Singh had asked the NADA and AFI to submit a report on the issue. The award was put on hold as the sports ministry initiated an enquiry after media reports claimed that Maheshwary had failed a dope test in 2008.

Kerala-based Maheshwary missed Saturday's National Sports Day where he was to be conferred the Arjuna Award with 14 others.

He made the decision following reports that he was ineligible for the honour considering he was handed a three-month suspension for testing positive in the 2008 National Athletics meet in Kochi.

According to rules, a dope offender cannot be chosen for the high award.

Sports Secretary P.K. Deb earlier told IANS that Maheswary deserved the award since he had tested positive after taking a cough medicine.

The 27-year-old finished fourth at the 2006 Asian Games and won the 2007 Asian Championships. He also competed at the 2007 World Championships but did not reach the final.

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