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Dope: Blame rests with athletes

india Updated: Sep 12, 2010 00:23 IST
Shubhodeep Chakravarty
Shubhodeep Chakravarty

The Sports Ministry on Saturday took a grim view of the recent events that have led to as many as 18 athletes finding themselves on the wrong side of their dope tests.

It also disclosed the names of over a 100 athletes who have failed the test in the last eight months.

Joint Secretary in the Sports Ministry, Rahul Bhatnagar, while addressing the media on Saturday said the concern of positive dope tests was not restricted to only athletes participating in events that will feature in the Commonwealth Games.

"We have informed WADA about the matter. It was necessary as out of about 2047 samples collected between January and August, 103 tested positive," he said.

Bhatnagar was also categorical that athletes must be responsible for whatever they consume, intentionally or unintentionally.

"WADA rules are clear on what the banned substances are. The athletes are aware of this and have also attended seminars on the issue."

There is, however, a school of thought that feels athletes cannot be blamed completely for failing a test.

Though fairly common in sports like weightlifting, boxing and wrestling, a 17-year-old netball player failed the test recently.

National coach of the netball squad Panchali Tatke told HT that despite the fact that the larger onus is on players and coaches to be conscious, errors can happen especially when there is no designated team doctor with some of the squads.

"I know conscious usage of banned substances is prevalent, but there are genuine cases as well. As coach, I am not giving either a clean chit or blaming my player, but she had medical problems for which she went to a gynaecologist. Now she faces a possible two-year ban,” she said

Tatke added that a player who has medical problems cannot be expected to read each and every ingredient of a medicine, which also may or may not mention certain substances.

“You cannot blame the gynaecologist either because she was not a sports specialist.” She did admit though that her players are extremely cautious now and rightly so because “ they are representing the country in an event as big as CWG”.

Regardless of player’s responsibility, Bhatnagar said samples will be tested continually even as he defended allegations of substandard quality of supplements being provided to some players.

“We have an expert committee which has prepared an extensive list of supplements.There is no question of doubting the quality,” he said.

He added that the National Anti-Doping Agency's WADA-accredited lab is fully functional to remove doping menace from the CWG.