Ten out of 21 samples taken during a trial for the second Kabaddi World Cup, to be held next month in the Indian state of Punjab, have tested positive for banned steroids and a stimulant, India's National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) said.
The kabaddi players' samples contained prohibited steroids stanozolol, boldenone, nandrolone and stimulant phentermine, NADA said in a statement released late on Wednesday.
Doping is a major problem in Indian sport and NADA has been forced to become more proactive as it deals with one doping scandal after another, involving mainly athletes, wrestlers and weightlifters.
The selection trial for the Nov. 1-20 tournament was held at Ludhiana in Punjab on Oct. 5 and NADA collected a total of 51 samples, meaning more positive tests could be expected among the 30 results yet to be confirmed.
The players who tested positive have been provisionally suspended.
"NADA has taken this position very seriously due to such a high percentage of doping cases in kabaddi... sending the wrong signal to the sporting world regarding doping control activities in India," the agency's director general Rahul Bhatnagar said.
Kabaddi, which requires no sophisticated equipment, is hugely popular in South Asia and was included in the 1990 Asian Games in Beijing for the first time as a regular discipline.
India has won all six gold medals in the Asian Games since its introduction and also won the women's event at the 2010 Guangzhou Games, where it was played for the first time.
The sport is played by two teams of seven members, in which a 'raider' enters the other half of the court to tag or wrestle opponents before returning 'home' while holding his breath and chanting 'kabaddi, kabaddi'.