Two leading athletes — one of them an Asian Games medallist – have failed dope tests for performance enhancing drugs, said Navin Aggarwal, director general of the National Anti Doping Agency (NADA), here on Saturday.
Aggarwal didn’t reveal the names of the athletes whose B sample is yet to be tested, but said NADA had collected the urine and blood samples during the three Indian Grand Prix events in Patiala recently and the National Race Walking Championships in Ranchi.
Each sample taken is kept in two separate bottles — A and B. And if the A sample turns positive then athletes have the right to have their B samples tested.
The athletes, if proved guilty during NADA’s anti-doping disciplinary panel hearing, could face a four-year ban for the first doping offence.
Since the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) has suspended New Delhi’s National Anti Doping Laboratory (NDTL) for violating WADA guidelines for following lab protocol, the recent samples were tested in a foreign WADA accredited lab.
One of the two athletes who failed the dope test in February is a key member of the national women’s 4x400m relay team.
“A positive test could be a big setback to the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) plans to make the cut in the women’s 4x400m relay team for the Tokyo Olympic Games,” said a national level coach.
The 400 metres female runner has been in the national preparatory camp for long and was training in Patiala till recently. The athlete was also a member of the women’s and mixed 4x400m relay teams that won gold at the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games.
AFI president Adille Sumariwalla wasn’t available for comment.
Last month, NADA had collected 148 samples, including 15 blood samples, to detect the use of banned substances for enhancing performance during national competitions that resumed post Covid-lockdown. Of the 148 samples the main focus was on track and field events.
NADA had collected as many as 40 samples, including Indian Grand Prix (IGP) athletics, held in Patiala and 36th National Junior Athletics Championship held in Guwahati.
In the first leg of IGP, NADA team had tested 10 athletes while the number was increased to 13 in the second leg.
NADA also took 10 samples of the athletes during the National Race Walking Championship in Ranchi. The Ranchi competition was also an Olympic qualification event.
The national race walking event saw three athletes — Sandeep Singh (20km), Rahul Kumar (20km) and Priyanka Goswami (20km women) — make the cut for this year’s Olympics.
Olympic probables attending coaching camps in Patiala and Bengaluru were also tested, says the NADA monthly newsletter for March.