India among top doping offenders in the world - Hindustan Times

India among top doping offenders in the world

Apr 05, 2024 12:43 AM IST

Intro: In percentage terms, India's 3.2% of AAFs is the highest in the world among nations that tested more than 2,000 samples

India recorded the highest number of drug cheats in the world in 2022, a report released by the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) has concluded. India tested a total of 3,865 samples — urine, blood, and dried blood spot (DBS) combined — during the collection period that began on January 1, 2022 and ended on December 31, 2022, and 125 of them returned Adverse Analytical Findings (AAFs).

Representative Image(Getty Images)
Representative Image(Getty Images)

India is the only country to have over 100 positive results. By comparison, countries with higher testing numbers such as China, USA, and Russia produced fewer AAFs.

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In percentage terms, India's 3.2% of AAFs is the highest in the world among nations that tested more than 2,000 samples. Out of the 125 AAFs, 37 tested positive in out-of-competition testing while 88 returned positive in in-competition testing. India's total of 3865 samples put them on the 11th spot among all countries. China tested most samples — 19,228 — but produced only 0.2% AAFs, or 33 positive results.

Germany and Russia were next in terms of testing, 13,653 and 10,186 respectively, to be the only three countries to test over 10,000 samples. Germany recorded a total dope positive count of 42 while 85 Russian samples tested positive. In terms of absolute numbers, only Russia (85) and USA (84) come close to India's 125. France recorded 72 AAFs out of 9775 samples while Italy had 73 positives from 9101 samples.

Overall, 26 nations tested 2,000 or more samples with South Africa returning the second highest adverse finding at 2.9% (58 samples) after India. The third place was taken by Kazakhstan with 1.9% of its testing pool of 2,174 samples returning adverse findings.

WADA noted a 6.4% increase in the total number of samples analysed and reported into its Anti-Doping Administration and Management System (ADAMS) in 2022 as compared to 2021. The percentage of AAF also went up from 0.65% in 2021 to 0.77% in 2022.

“WADA’s Annual Testing Figures Report is the most comprehensive overview of all doping control samples,” WADA Director General Olivier Niggli said in a statement.

“WADA is pleased to note that the number of anti-doping tests in the testing figures continue to increase across the board and are the closest to the pre-pandemic levels (2019). The Testing Figures Report is an important tool for collaboration between Anti-Doping Organisations,” he added.

India topping the AAF charts doesn't really come as a surprise considering that this January, India was named as the second worst country in a 10-year global study of positive doping cases by minors conducted by the WADA. The list was topped by Russia while China was third.

The key to counter the situation lies in education and creating awareness at the grassroots level, said Dr PSM Chandran, former Chief Medical Officer at the Sports Medicine Centre of SAI. "Doping is quite rampant among junior athletes, a lot of whom are after money or government jobs. While it is good to incentivise sport, the flipside is youngsters resorting to quick-fixes for medals," he added.

In 2018, 12 athletes, almost half of them gold medalists, tested positive for using banned drugs at the Khelo India School Games, government's flagship under-17 programme to unearth grassroots talent. Last year, at the Delhi State Athletics Meet, seven of the eight finalists famously fled after learning of the presence of NADA officials. The lone sprinter who competed also returned a positive test two months later.

Earlier this year, a NADA report revealed a sharp rise in doping cases from 2021-22 cycle (39) to 2022-23 (142) with athletics topping the AAF charts. While 49 athletics samples returned a positive test report, weightlifting was next (22) followed by wrestling (17).

"Doping is a serious menace and AFI is committed to addressing it. We have increased the testing, which is why you see more AAFs. We constantly educate our athletes on the pitfalls of doping. To see India top the list of dope violations is sad but it is also a measure of the volume of testing we do," Athletics Federation of India president Adille Sumariwalla said.

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