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‘NADA needs better budget to conduct more tests at junior level’

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Bhubaneswar, May 14: The Increase in doping violations by minors in India is a cause of concern and NADA needs an enhanced budget to at least keep the menace in check as complete eradication would be tough, feels noted sports medicine expert PSM Chandran.
Chandran, who is currently heading Sports and Exercise Science at the Khelo India State Centre of Excellence at Kalinga Stadium here, said roping in celebrities to propagate the harmful effects of doping could be a good way to reach out to youngsters.
“First of all, let’s make it clear, those who dope constitute 2.5 to three per cent of all the athletes, the other 96.5 to 97 per cent are clean. In sports, there always will be doping, it’s a matter of how best you can keep it under control and not about eradicating it,” Chandran told PTI in an interview.
“Since the minors are also competing, some of them will do doping, whatever may be the reason. It (doping by minors) is a cause of concern but is not something unexpected. Just like adult sportspersons, they (minor athletes) also think they can get admission (to educational institutions) or get jobs if they get a medal.
“Moreover, dope testing at junior levels is minimal because of lack of funds (for NADA) and they might be thinking that the chance of getting caught is less.”
In a report published by World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in January, India was named as the second worst country in a 10-year global study of positive doping cases by minors. Russia topped the list, followed by India and China.
Last month, in another WADA report, India registered the highest percentage of failed dope tests among countries which tested more than 2000 samples, based on the figures of 2022.
India tested 3865 samples (urine, and blood combined) during the recorded period, of which 125 returned adverse analytical findings. This amounted to 3.2 per cent of the samples.
Chandran, who has served as consultant at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and as lead Dope Control Officer for the Indian Premier League, said lack of funds is a major hurdle in conducting tests at junior level competitions.
“It costs around Rs 25,000 per test, this includes cost of the kits, transportation and laboratory charges as well as courier charges. But where is the money and how many tests you can do from the budget, these are the questions to be asked.
“With the limited resources, how many tests can NADA do? Can they do testing for all sports? So, NADA has to go for sports like weightlifting and athletics (where doping is more rampant) and leave others.
“Even the labs have limitation in testing, they cannot take so much of load.” In this year’s interim budget, the government allocated Rs 22.30 crore to NADA, a slight increase than the 2023-24 amount of Rs 21.73 crore.
Chandran also said that more than highlighting the moral aspect of doping, the focus should be on its harmful effects on health, especially on youngsters.
“How it effects health, that should be highlighted. You talked about the moral side and the violation of the spirit of playing sports. That does not help,” said Chandran who has been in the NADA Anti-Doping Panel for years. (PTI)

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