ISLAMABAD - Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP), setting aside all the rules and regulations and ignoring the direction of Anti-Doping Organisation of Pakistan (ADOP), allowed banned athlete Sumaira Zahoor to attend the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) Level-I coaching course held at Pakistan Sports Complex on Thursday.

Sumaira, who represented Pakistan in 2004 Athens Olympics, faced ban for testing positive in a dope test imposed by the ADOP and now she is attending the IAAF level-I coaching course along with other 39 participants.

According to the ADOP letter showing, banned Sumaira is not eligible to represent Pakistan in any national and international competitions, ban to become member/coach/trainer/official of any sports organisation and ineligible to attend any event conducted under the jurisdiction and auspicious of the AFP till get dope clearance from the ADOP.

It is pertinent to mention here that as soon as ADOP imposed a maximum two-year ban on Sumaira, she immediately announced retirement as an athlete and instead opted to start career as coach. The loopholes in rules and regulations allow not only Sumaira but also a number of other athletes to befool others by opting to announce retirement. According to rules, the ADOP ban only cover players and doesn’t stop them from becoming coaches, office-bearers or any other kind of activity, which is a grave injustice to others, as what is the guarantee, the players who cheats, will not repeat such dubious activities in future. The rules need to be amended and that too on top priority basis.

When this scribe contacted ADOP chairman Dr Waqar Ahmed to have his point of view, he admitted that Sumaira did not get dope test clearance from the ADOP and ethically, she is not eligible to attend the IAAF coaching course under the supervision of the AFP. “The AFP should not allow her to attend this course, but we are working hard on changing current rules. We have already made amendments and now from April, the athlete, who cheats, will get four-year ban instead of two-year ban and we will also suggest to World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to cover all the areas and no one can get benefit from loopholes in the law.”

“Now, we can’t prevent her or anyone else from conducting course, as our rules apply only on players. If she or anyone else wants to come out of retirement, then she or other has to present clearance certificate before starting a career,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, AFP secretary M Zafar said: “I don’t know how Sumaira attended this course if she didn’t get clearance certificate from the ADOP. We will look into this matter and try to amend our laws.”