athletics world championships

Davinder Singh miffed with athletics federation after lack of support at World C’ships

The 28-year-old javelin thrower claims that the AFI didn’t even want him to go to London.

Davinder Singh Kang was left miffed at the Athletics Federation of India after his exit from the javelin throw final at the IAAF World Championships in London on Saturday.

After finishing 12th in the competition on Sunday among 13 athletes, where Germany’s Johannes Vetter took the gold medal with a throw of 89.89 metres, Kang took exception to the attitude of the deputy coach RK Nair towards him.

Kang was the only Indian to reach the final of a competition at the Worlds and managed a best of 80.02 metres in his three attempts to bow out of the competition as he did not register among the top 8 throwers after the first three throws.

His shoulders fully taped, Kang was not throwing at 100% as he had complained of soreness in his shoulder and arms during the qualifying round, where he had thrown 84.22 metres to reach the final, ahead of the 19-year-old junior World Record thrower Neeraj Chopra. His first throw went as far as 75.40 metres and his second attempt was recorded as a foul throw.

“I told Mr Nair that let Neeraj (Chopra) sit in the stands (behind where the athletes run in for their throws). After all, we train together and he knows how I throw so he will be of more help,” he was quoting as saying by Firstpost. “But he didn’t agree. And he himself sat there. What will I ask him? In the last four years, he has never seen me train. What does he know about javelin? And even if he understands the technical point where I am going wrong, how will he help me with a solution? A coach who comes for one day during the World Championship is not a coach.”

Lack of support

The National Anti-Doping Agency had earlier levelled charges of marijuana usage against Davinder two months prior to the start of the Championships. Marijuana is not on the list of specified substances and thus no provisional suspension was handed over to the Punjabi thrower but he alleged that the AFI had tried to persuade him not to participate in London.

“[AFI] constantly called me asking me not to go to London, saying I won’t be allowed to participate here and that the IAAF would ban me. I explained to everybody how marijuana got into my system. But the AFI kept insisting that I should back away from London,” said Kang when questioned about the dope violation.

At the Asian Athletics Championships in July, Davinder finished third in Bhubaneswar while Chopra took the gold. He claimed that some ground bhang (a derivative of marijuana) had been mixed along with medication he had obtained from a ‘local’ physician whom he had visited seeking help for uneasiness.

Kang claimed that Nair had advised him not to go, adding that it was the job of the AFI to explain that marijuana was not a banned drug like others questioning why it was the job of the athlete to explain himself.

He also said AFI had not even communicated with him after he reached the final, “Yesterday, I sat alone in my room. There was nobody with me. The AFI didn’t have the decency to send a good luck message. I am not saying that I would have won a medal. But you feel good that the federation is there. And you put in more effort. Here sitting in the room, I am pumping myself up for what is my biggest event. It is India’s moment in a World Championship final.”

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