NADA: Fewer cases of doping violations in 2018

The National Anti-Doping Agency has been involved in dope control at all major events.

A note circulated by NADA chief Navin Agarwal says more than 4,000 tests were carried out during the year as compared to 3,363 in 2016 and 3,594 in 2017.   -  AP

This should be some good news for the whole of the Indian sport spectrum as the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) has reported that there have been fewer doping violations in 2018 compared to the preceding two years.

A note circulated by NADA chief Navin Agarwal, highlighting the work conducted by the agency during the calendar year, says more than 4,000 tests were carried out during the year as compared to 3,363 in 2016 and 3,594 in 2017.

And, of these, the incidence of doping has reduced to 70 violations during 2018 as against 77 in 2016 and 73 in 2017.

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Innovative measures

This reduction, the NADA claimed was on account of innovative measures like Athlete Biological Passport Programme, Independent Observer Programme, Speak Up Mechanism and the all-India toll-free helpline which were introduced this year.

Also, improvement in the quality of dope control by way of successful implementation of the 44 corrective measures suggested by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Another important measure adopted by the agency in 2018 was the higher number of anti-doping cum awareness programmes which were proactively conducted to include school and youth level athletes. NADA conducted 84 such programmes (52 in 2016 and 64 in 2018).

NADA was involved through the year in dope control at all major events like the inaugural Khelo India Games, Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games.

As many as 498 international-level Indians were tested by NADA prior to the Asian Games (including 54 tested abroad), marking the largest ever testing programme carried out by the agency before any international event.

Besides these, the agency was successful in adopting an Anti-Doping Charter for Athletes Rights, in the working out of a draft anti-doping bill and streamlining of the long-neglected Therapeutic Use Exemption procedure, which came in handy for as many as 14 athletes through the year as compared to only two in 2017.

Improved status

While the reduction of doping violations has improved India’s position globally with regard to dope control, the year as it progressed, did bring about the shocking revelation that international weightlifters Sanjita Chanu and Poonam Dalal and quartermiler Nirmala Sheoran had flunked tests conducted by WADA, which reiterates the fact that the country is yet to overcome the menace completely.

As the world steps into a New Year, it will be only wise to be reminded that the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has put India in the high-risk doping club and the country could feel the heat by way of stringent sanctions, including ban from international meets and the Olympic Games, depending upon results reported in 2019.