Pune: With her ban period ending on Thursday, dope-tainted double Asian Games gold medallist Ashwini Akkunji made an appearance during the ongoing Asian Athletics Championships here.
Akkunji, one of the six top quarter-milers who flunked dope test in 2011, served a two-year ban and the period ended on Thursday. Even the website of International Athletics Federation (IAAF) has removed her name from the list of sanctioned athlete.
The ban period of five other atheletes - Mandeep Kaur, Sini Jose, Tiana Mary Thomas, Priyanka Panwar and Juana Murmu - has also ended.
The lanky 25-year-old Karnataka athlete said she has no immediate plans to start taking part in competitions. Asked if she was thinking of competing in Europe and try to qualify for the World Championships, Akkunji said, "I have no immediate plans to start competition. It's already late for World Championships, though I think there are a few competitions left for which entry can be made till July 8.
"But I am not going to start taking part in competitions so soon. Maybe I can take part in National Open Athletics Championships in Ranchi in September," said Akkunji, who had won gold in 400m hurdles and 4X400m hurdles in the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou.
Akkunji and five other top Indian women quarte-rmilers were caught for steroid doping in 2011 and handed one-year bans by the National Anti-Doping Agency. However, on appeal from the International Athetics Federation (IAAF), the Court of Arbitration for Sports in Switzerland increased the ban to two years.