NADA again cuts down athletics samples, WADA figures reveal

Among 71 positives, athletics again topped with 21 offenders, followed by powerlifting (14), weightlifting (10), bodybuilding (9 of 18 samples) and other disciplines.

The trend of cutting down on athletics samples, which seems to have started in 2016, has continued more glaringly in the following years.   -  AP Photo

The National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) policy to test less number of athletes from athletics has come to the fore, after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) released the data of test figures of 2017.

According to the WADA figures, 71 of the 3174 samples (from the 7118 tests carried out by the National Dope Testing Laboratory, which for the first time since 2010 has tested more international samples than domestic ones) collected by NADA, returned positive. Among 71 positives, athletics again topped with 21 offenders, followed by powerlifting (14), weightlifting (10), bodybuilding (9 of 18 samples) and other disciplines.

NADA collected 815 samples, including 502 IC and 229 OOC urine samples and 28 IC and 56 OOC blood, in athletics in 2017. It witnessed only a few big names, including Asian championship medallists shot putter Manpreet Kaur and javelin thrower Davinder Singh Kang, testing positive for banned substances during the year.

In 2017, NADA missed some prominent athletics events including the Senior Open National championship, inter-university meet, the National cross-country meet, and collected less than 25 samples from the Senior National inter-state championships.

In the previous years, NADA had gathered far more samples in athletics – 1298 in 2013, 1171 in 2014, 1470 in 2015 and 970 in 2016. The trend of cutting down on athletics samples, which seems to have started in 2016, has continued more glaringly in the following years.

Besides, testing more athletes ‘in competition’ (IC) than ‘out of competition’ (OOC) in athletics has put a question mark over its claims of intelligence gathering and target testing.

A cursory glance at the figures provided by WADA tells that several dope testing authorities, including the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), German NADA, USADA, Russian and Kenyan dope testing agencies, collected more OOC samples than IC during 2017 as the former always acted as deterrent against doping.

NADA spent a lot of resources testing athletes from boxing (420), football (318), wrestling (199) and hockey (156) and found four, one, four and one positive results respectively.

Weightlifting (359 samples, including 119 IC and 177 OOC), which is third on the dope offenders list, has more OOC tests.