The National Anti-doping Agency’s (NADA) decision to conduct an ‘out of competition’ dope test on the Olympic boxing medalist, Vijender Singh, whose name has been dragged into a heroin scandal, could prove a futile exercise as the tests will not determine whether he had taken that drug during his stint in the national camp.
And as per the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) rules, NADA can’t test athletes for narcotics out of competition.
Vijender had his urine and blood samples collected by NADA on Wednesday, but it would not be enough to confirm whether he had taken heroin in the recent past, as alleged by the Punjab Police.
Firstly, NADA has not collected hair follicles, a test generally accepted to verify the presence of drugs like cocaine, opium and heroin.
Also, officials involved in dope testing for sportspersons in the country say there is no provision to test hair follicle at the National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL), a WADA accredited facility where all tests are done.
“The NDTL has no equipment to test hair follicle,” said a senior official of the Sports Authority of India, an arm of the sports ministry.
The NDTL was upgraded before the 2010 Commonwealth Games to test blood samples (human growth hormone).
“NDTL can only test the list of substances under WADA rules. If it does other tests, it would be a breach of the WADA code and NDTL could lose accreditation,” said Ashok Ahuja, a former SAI medical expert.
According to him, narcotics such as heroin, taken in small doses, act as pain-killers.
“It doesn’t help boost performance.”
IOA seeks IOC guidance
New Delhi: The IOA acting president Vijay Kumar Malhotra has written to the IOC president Jacques Rogge, criticising the government’s sports code and seeking direction from the global body to ensure Indian athletes are allowed to compete under the national flag at the earliest.