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Indian lifting body faces heat after 15 doping violations

As per standard procedure, a copy of each and every dope violation is sent to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) headquarters in Montreal and the sport’s international body—in this case the International Weightlifting Federation.

other sports Updated: May 29, 2019 09:29 IST
Navneet Singh
Navneet Singh
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Indian Weightlifting Federation,IWF,NADA
World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in Montreal, Quebec, Canada November 9, 2015. (REUTERS/Christinne Muschi/File Photo)

The Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWF) could be in serious trouble again after 15 lifters—including 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Ravi Kumar—were served notices and provisionally suspended by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) for doping.

As per standard procedure, a copy of each and every dope violation is sent to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) headquarters in Montreal and the sport’s international body—in this case the International Weightlifting Federation.

A majority of the lifters, who were tested during the national championships at Visakhapatnam in February, tested positive for “clomiphene metabolite” and “other anti-estogenic substances”, which are on WADA’s 2019 prohibited list.

The extraordinarily large number of dope cheats caught has brought the focus on the Indian weightlifting body. The world governing body has issued strict warning that national federations will face the consequences for dope violations.

“This is the first time so many competitors have tested positive in a domestic competition. The development is directly in conflict with the International Weightlifting Federation, which has made its intentions clear to clean up the sport globally,” said a NADA official on condition of anonymity.

Former national coach and currently a selector, Pal Singh Sandhu, said: “The world body will certainly take a serious view of this. In a recent communication to all national federations, it had asked them to check doping at the domestic level.”

The Indian weightlifting federation was banned in 2006, within seven months of coming out of a one-year ban, after four adverse analytical findings were reported during that period, including that of B Prameelavalli, who was dropped from the 2002 Melbourne Commonwealth Games-bound lifting contingent after being caught by a WADA team in Patiala.

IWF secretary general Sahdev Yadav was unavailable for comment. Sandhu did not comment on what kind of action the international lifting federation could initiate.

Target Testing

NADA Director General, Navin Agarwal, said a “target testing system” adopted by the agency was the reason behind so many dope cheats getting caught. “We studied the past history of competitors and targeted those whose performance graph was unsteady. We cannot disclose all the parameters taken into account,” he said.

All the competitors have been provisionally suspended pending hearing and could be banned for four years, if proven guilty.

Sandhu said none of the core group of lifters preparing for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics had failed the dope tests. “They are being closely monitored,” he added.

Several countries, including India, have been restricted to fielding only four lifters under the new Olympic Qualifying Policy, whereby the number of athletes a country can field is inversely proportional to the number of positive dope cases.

First Published: May 29, 2019 08:48 IST