Khelo India Youth Games: NADA to test 400 athletes

Khelo India School Games, conducted last year in New Delhi, saw 12 positive dope tests from 377 samples collected.

205 athletes tested so far at the ongoing Khelo India Youth Games. (REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE)   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The team assembled by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) tested 205 young performers in five days of competition at the 2nd Khelo India Youth Games, in progress here at the Balewadi sports complex. The events are also held in adjacent venues and boys' hockey is staged in MHAL turf facility in Mumbai. “The target plan is 400 across different disciplines. Among those tested, 193 urine samples and 12 blood samples are with us,” said Dr. Naveen Agarwal, NADA Director-General.

The samples are couriered daily to a NADA laboratory in New Delhi. “If any of the samples turn up positive for presence of banned substance, a confirmation test is conducted. The athlete is informed and the respective National Sports Federation (NSF) is alerted,” he said. Dr. Agarwal was in Pune for the anti-doping awareness initiative launch. The national agency has a 50-member team, supported by a panel of doctors, nurses from the Government Medical College, Pune, trained by NADA for the KIYG work.

Dope Control Officers from outside are involved, whose work is monitored by independent observers. Athletics, badminton, judo, gymnastics and wrestling events are over by day six, U-17 and U-21 participants in ongoing events keep competing, new athletes arrive. Responding to a query if every medalist is tested, he replied: “We select athletes based on positions in the event, as per a test plan. The positions are pre-determined and any athlete getting that placing is tested.”

NADA has also done out-of-competition testing before the Games started. “The out-of-competition tests were picked up at random and also on the basis of intelligence about certain participants,” he explained. Khelo India School Games, conducted last year in the capital, saw 12 positive dope tests from 377 samples collected. The lab takes 10-15 days to submit the report. "Confirmatory tests are also required and it takes almost a month for a positive test report to come. The athlete, his/her federation and event organisers are notified.”

He added: “When the result management was conducted, most of them were not aware how the substances entered their body. It was unintentional doping in most of cases. We realised the necessity to educate the youth, many are India’s future champions. KIYC 2019 is the next chance we got to make U-17 and U-19 age groups aware at an early stage about doping dangers. Testing and awareness workshop will hopefully reduce doping cases.”

KIYC 2019 ends on January 20.