| New Delhi |
Updated: September 30, 2017 12:39 am
The bottles used for sample collection by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) at the Asian Athletics Championships were not tamper-proof.
The chairman of the medical committee of the Athletics Federation of India, Dr Arun Mendiratta, who was at July’s Asian meet at Bhubaneshwar, told The Indian Express that one of the participating international athletes, a medalist in the javelin throw event, had demonstrated how the cap of the canister that holds the sample collection bottle could be opened, and closed, without any visible evidence of tampering.
This, he said, was done in the presence of a doping control officers.
“The critical issue here is that the anti-doping kits used by the NADA at the Asian Athletics Championships were not tamper-proof. I have not seen the kind of anti-doping kits, which NADA used at the 2017 Asian championships since 2009. World wide at major athletics events, including the Olympics, World Championships, these are not the kits which are used. But in Bhubaneshwar the kits used were not tamper proof,” Dr Mendiratta, who was the venue medical officer in-charge during the championships, said.
Another officer – the doping control delegate at the meet – had raised the issue of athletes challenging the integrity of the tests because of the kit. Mendiratta said that the sample collection bottles used at major competitions can only be opened by a special clipper and the lid cannot be sealed again.
The Asian Athletics Championships was conducted under the aegis of the Asian Athletics Association and NADA was contracted with conducting tests. In all 50 samples were collected from athletes at the championships, while Indian athletes were subjected to out of competition tests also.
NADA director general Navin Agarwal, however, refuted the claims. “The kits we use are absolutely tamper proof and are certified by World Anti Doping Agency (WADA). There is no way it can be tampered with as they are being used world wide,” Agarwal said.
Mendiratta, however, said that he would also raise the issue of the kits used at the Asian championships in his report, which will be submitted to the Athletics Federation of India.
Anti-doping kits have come under scrutiny over the years, most recently after the Russian doping scandal.
A leading manufacturer of anti-doping kits updated its security technology earlier this year to try and ensure that bottles cannot be tampered with following reports that samples were switched without detection by the Russians during the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.
The bottles of this manufacturer have been used for sample collection at the Olympics since the Sydney Games in 2000. The kits used by NADA at the Asian championships were of another manufacturer.
Dr Mendiratta has the experience of being the doping control delegate at international competitions, including this year’s 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games and the Asian Grand Prix series.