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Doping lab a priority for India: C'wealth officials

The weightlifting doping scandal has highlighted a need to fast-track an accredited drug-testing laboratory in New Delhi.

india Updated: Mar 25, 2006 10:47 IST

The Indian weightlifting doping scandal does not embarrass the Commonwealth Games movement, with the top official saying only that it highlighted a need to fast-track an accredited drug-testing laboratory in New Delhi.

The Capital will host the next edition of the Commonwealth Games in 2010 and, so far, the only doping cases in the March 15-26 Melbourne Games involve two Indian weightlifters. Commonwealth Games Federation president Mike Fennell on Saturday said it was "not relevant" to link India's staging of the 2010 games with doping cases in Melbourne.

"The important thing to us is what is being done," he said. "We insist on drug testing irrespective of where the games are being held.

"We are working with the Indian organizers to ensure that they have a fully accredited laboratory in a very short time. They've already started that process and they have will their laboratory. Their national doping control processes are very much in force." The World Anti-Doping Agency has 33 accredited labs around the world, including facilities in China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia and Australia in the Asia-Pacific region. Fennell said India's population and its growing potential in international sport made it imperative to get testing procedures right.

Indian weightlifters Edwin Raju and Tajinder Singh returned positives for the banned steroid Stanozolol in pre-games tests. The pair passed tests conducted by WADA in India on March 1 but tested positive in Melbourne on March 11, four days before the start of the games.

Raju and Singh have Court of Arbitration for Sport hearings on Sunday and face lengthy bans.

The Indian weightlifting federation also faces a ban of up to five years from international competition for a spate of doping positives.

First Published: Mar 25, 2006 10:47 IST