Monday, June 14, 2021
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I have been treated badly for years by authorities: Seema Punia

Livid with detractors for casting aspersions on her achievements because of a dope-tainted past, Asian Games gold medallist discus thrower Seema Punia on Tuesday said she has been “ill-treated” by authorities, including the national federation, for many years now.

Seema, who won a gold in the just-concluded Incheon Games, said despite being a top performer for the country in the past 14 years, she received step-motherly treatment from the authorities.

“I am a junior World Championships medallist. I have won medals in three successive Commonwealth Games (2006 to 2014) before I won a gold in Incheon. I have brought laurels for the country for the past more than a decade in my long career and I thought I deserved better treatment but I have been looked upon with suspicion whenever I have achieved something. This is not fair,” said 31-year-old.

Seema was stripped off her gold medal in 2000 World Junior Championships in Santiago after testing positive for a banned stimulant — pseudoephedrine — though she had claimed at that time that it was due to a medicine she took for common cold while on her way to Chile from India.She was issued a warning but two years later, she won a bronze in the World Junior Championships in Jamaica. Later, she was embroiled in another doping controversy just before the 2006 Asian Games and she withdrew, citing “ill-health” of her father.

“I will not look back and I hope to prove my detractors wrong. Now my ultimate target is winning a medal in 2016 London Olympics and if I do that, I think my detractors will be silenced,” said Punia, who returned home from South Korea.

“I heard some people talking about whether I was tested before going to Glasgow CWG and Asian Games. But I want to ask how would government and the federation clear me without testing. I underwent testing by NADA before these two events. I gave the sample after returning from the United States training and then before the Asian Games.”

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