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Another high for Indian sports

The wait is finally over. The National Dope Testing Laboratory got the accreditation from the World Anti-Doping Agency in Montreal, reports Indraneel Das.

india Updated: Sep 21, 2008 23:11 IST
Indraneel Das

The wait is finally over. The National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL) got the accreditation from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in Montreal on Saturday night.

With this accreditation, which was confirmed during WADA’s Executive Committee meeting, India will now house world’s 34th accredited anti-doping laboratory.

The laboratory is in its final phase of its setting up and according to ministry officials, the WADA teams that visited India were quite satisfied with the results. “They were happy with our efforts,” said an official.

“We were hopeful of getting it sooner or later. It’s another landmark and will help India emerge as a great sporting nation,” said Indian Olympic Association secretary general Randhir Singh.

“Now all that we need is some strong scientific back up for our sportspersons,” said Singh who is also the founder member of the WADA.

Even the Sports Ministry was happy to take this burden off its shoulders before the 2010 Commonwealth Games. “We have been pursuing this day in and day out and it’s great to see this get sorted so early,” said Sports Minister MS Gill. “We will make it fully operational as soon as possible.”

Even before the meeting, as reported by Hindustan Times, World Anti Doping Agency Chief Executive David Howman sounded positive. “We were satisfied with the testing done by it,” he had said. It was just a matter of time before the New Delhi lab got WADA’s approval.

The Agency, through a statement late on Saturday night, said: “The Executive Committee approved the accreditation of the new laboratory in New Delhi, India. The National Dope Testing Laboratory has successfully completed the requirements of the WADA accreditation process monitored by the Agency’s Laboratory Working Committee.”

Now India does not need to turn to laboratories in Bangkok and Penang (Malaysia) for testing of samples. “We can do it here,” said the IOA secretary-general.

The accreditation process, which entered the probationary period in 2006, took two years of strict adherence to WADA guidelines to fulfill the criteria. “All our scientists and experts have done a great job,” he said.

What next?

According to WADA guidelines, even after getting the accreditation the laboratory will be monitored. “We will monitor it very closely,” Howman had said. “This is just a certificate and if we are not satisfied with the functioning of any lab we withdraw its accreditation.”

Delhi lab has been functioning with minimum manpower. According to experts, the National Dope Testing Laboratory must reinforce itself.

“There has been a shortage of manpower and they have to recruit the right people,” said Ashok Ahuja, Senior Scientific officer at the NIS Patiala. “Now we have to be more responsible.”

He also believes that the NDTL and NADA members should be well versed in sample collection and the anti-doping rules must be inducted in the National Dope Testing Laboratory . “That way it can function much better,” said Ahuja.