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Wada snoops on Games Village

New Delhi: Dope snoops have descended on the Commonwealth Games Village.

In an unprecedented move, officials of World Anti Doping Agency (Wada) are conducting pre-Games tests, targeting teams with a history of drugs, which includes India’s weightlifting squad.

“The Wada officials have already set up their office in the Games Village,” said a source. “So far, they have collected around 150 urine and blood samples from different athletes,” he said.

A top Indian woman weightlifter, a medal prospect at the Games, was the first to be asked by the Wada to give her sample for testing, sources said.

Indian weightlifters have a history of dope offence in the Commonwealth Games. While Subroto Paul was the first to fail dope test in the 1990 Games in Auckland, Satheesha Rai and Krishnan Madasamy tested positive in the 2002 Manchester Games. Four years ago, Tejinder Singh and Edwin Raju were caught for similar offence.

India are considered one of the weightlifting powerhouses in the Commonwealth, having won 93 medals — including 33 gold — since 1966 when they took part in weightlifting for the first time. Only Austrawlia, with 145 medals, and England with 105 are ahead of India.

“This is for the first time the pre-Games testing has started in the Commonwealth Games,” said an official of the National Anti Doping Agency (Nada). “In the Winter Olympics Games in Canada, 30 athletes were caught for doping by Wada in pre-Games testing.”

In total, Wada is expected to collect nearly 2000 samples during the Games.

Interestingly, on Friday, the Swimming Federation of India (SFI) decided to induct two dope tainted athletes, Richa Mishra and Jyotsna Pansare, back in the Games squad after their suspension was provisionally lifted by the Nada hearing panel. Both swimmers had tested positive for the banned substance methylhexaneamine.

Ramanuj Mukherjee, the manager of the Indian swimming team, said: “We have sent letters to the Organising Committee (OC) to include the names of the two swimmers in the squad. Since the suspension has been lifted, we see no reason why the two girls should not be taken back in the squad.”

The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) officials, however, made it clear that they would not be influenced by the decision of the swimming body.

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