The Telegraph
Thursday , June 7 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Clean-up drive by Nada is baffling

New Delhi: Struck by series of reverses on the doping front in the last one year, the National Anti-Doping Agency (Nada) has decided to undertake the sample-testing of all the probables and qualified sportspersons for London Olympics.

“This is being done with the objective that if there is any such athlete who has been indulging in doping practices, he or she could be identified at this stage only,” said Rahul Bhatnagar, the Nada director general.

According to Bhatnagar, who is also a joint secretary in ministry of sports, sample-testing of 121 sportspersons in seven disciplines have already been completed in Bangalore, Patiala, Sonepat and Hyderabad.

The disciplines include athletics, badminton, rowing, swimming, table tennis, weightlifting and wrestling. Further samples would be collected from the probables in the next 10 days, the Nada boss informed.

All the athletes have been distributed copies of ‘dos and don’ts’ for maintaining a safeguard against doping.

Nada’s announcement, however, has failed to impress some sports officials, who voiced their doubts about how effective would be the testing of athletes on the eve of Olympics. “The Nada approach seems faulty,” alleged an official, who did not wish to be named.

“Nowhere in the world out-of-competition tests are done after making a public announcement,” he said. “Such disclosure would only alert athletes who are taking to unfair means to achieve success.

Maintaining secrecy is one of the prime rules of dope testing, but Nada does not seem to understand this fact,” the official pointed out.

Some have even raised questions on the approach of some government agencies towards the dope offenders. In April, a senior Sports Authority of India (SAI) official was transferred after it was found that six female quarter-milers, banned for steroid violations, were allowed to train at SAI facilities in Sonepat, much against the World Anti Doping Agency (Wada) rules.

Though sports minister Ajay Maken ordered an enquiry, many felt the ministry was aware of the situation.

It may be recalled that two weightlifters — Sanamachu Chanu and Pratima Kumari — tested positive causing major embarrassment for India during the Athens Olympics. Four years later, another lifter, Monika Devi, tested positive ahead of the contingent’s departure for Beijing Olympics.

In June last year, Asian Games gold medallist Mandeep Kaur and Jauna Murmu were suspended for doping offences, followed by four more relay runners failing the tests, thus tainting India’s much publicised track and field success in 2010 Commonwealth Games.

Meanwhile, the methylhexaneamine dope scandal that rocked the 2010 Commonwealth Games continues to drag with the hearing into the case adjourned till September 19 after the lawyer representing the 11 implicated athletes sought to point out procedural lapses by the National Dope Testing Laboratory.