Two-year ban on rower Dattu Bhokanal lifted


The two-year suspension imposed after the 2018 Asian Games was lifted on navigator Dattu Bhokanal on Thursday following the intervention of Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President Narinder Batra.

narinder-batra-ioa-chiefBhokanal was one of the members of the Indian quartet that won gold in the men’s quadruple sculls at the Asian Games but left the singles skull in the middle. So he was banned by the Rowing Federation of India (RFI) in March last year. Bhokanal, who was the lone rower representing India in the 2016 Rio Olympics, was in the wilderness for over eight months and his ban was set to end on April 30, 2021.

In a letter to Batra, RFI President Rajalakshmi Singh Dev said, “The two-year suspension on rower Dattu Bhokanal is lifted from 23 January 2020. The rower has been informed accordingly and has been advised to prepare for the forthcoming Olympic Qualification Regatta to be held at Chungju, South Korea from April 27-30 this year”

Bhokanal-ban-lifted-by-two-yearsIt is to be noted that the RFI had banned Bhokanal after the report from the coaches and manager of the rowing team in the Asian Games. He was also issued a show cause notice a few months after the Jakarta games. The national federations had also blamed that Bhokanal was also indulged in a financial fraud by nominating an unknown woman as a coach, who got a cash award of Rs 12 lakh from the Maharashtra government.

In his explanation, Bhokanal had said that he had fallen from the boat which had overturned due to which he was not feeling well that day and thus had to opt out of the competition.

Bhokanal had written in his reply to the RFI notice, “My boat overturned on the day of the race. My lungs were filled with water. I tried my best but it was impossible to breathe. Considering the next day’s MX4 race, I did not want to let down my team. I had to regretfully give up the race,” Dattu had said in response to the show case notice.

Further, in response to the alleged financial scam he had replied, “There was no intent of misleading/misuse of provision… I have no relationship with the lady and I assure you that I will never ever commit financial fraud.”

However, the Rowing Federation had rejected both his explanations and banned him for two years. Following the ban Bhokanal had approached the IOA athletics commission.