Compared to, say, weightlifting and athletics, doping is not a big problem in hockey. Doping cases in hockey can be counted on fingers especially in India where eight athletes flunked tests last year alone.
Former India goalkeeper Adrian D'Souza on Friday became only the second known case of a hockey player failing a dope test.
Adrian's urine sample collected for an in-competition test by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) during the World Series Hockey (WSH), conducted by the non-sanctioned Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) and Nimbus Sports, has tested positive for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a metabolite of marijuana, a recreational drug. Adrian captained Mumbai Marines in the WSH.
Former India forward Tejbir Singh was the first Indian hockey player to flunk a dope test, before the Olympic Qualifiers in Madrid in 2004 in a pre-departure test conducted by the Sports Authority of India. The IHF kept the matter under wraps and Tejbir was declared "injured" and not selected for subsequent tournaments so as to avoid the dope stigma.
Adrian, however, would not be so 'lucky' as information of the adverse analytical finding was out in the open within a couple of days of NADA officially despatching the letter to the organisers, WSH, with copies to Hockey India, the international hockey federation (FIH) and the World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA).
As per WADA's code of conduct, Adrian faces a possible suspension of six months following a test of his 'B' sample and a disciplinary hearing.
Adrian's sample was collected on March 21 and is among the 12 tests conducted by NADA thus far. The samples collected after the final of the WSH on April 2 are yet to be tested, sources said. Thus, Adrian's indiscretion is the lone doping violation of the tournament till now.
He has now been given a week's time to intimate NADA whether he wants his 'B' sample to be tested.
Adrian could not be contacted for his reaction while a spokesperson said the WSH would issue make a statement only after being officially intimated by NADA.
(With inputs from Navneet Singh in Delhi)