• The hard battle against drug use in Indian sports
August 13, 2019
The timing was supposed to be perfect. A four-member team from the National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) landed unannounced at Rohtak’s Rajiv Gandhi Sports Complex, a central hub for track and field in Haryana, at six in the morning on a Saturday in July.
Their aim was to do a surprise collection of urine and blood samples from the athletes who had just arrived for training.
Many of these athletes were at the elite level, and were preparing for an upcoming inter-state athletics championship, with an eye on qualifying for the Doha World Athletics Championships in September. The surprise did not work as well as the team had hoped. Word spread quickly around the track.
“The athletes who wanted to avoid the NADA team immediately vanished from the stadium,” said a senior Sports Authority of India (SAI) coach stationed at Rohtak. He did not wish to be named. “All the anti-doping team could get were some of the junior athletes.
”NADA generally does out of competition tests at national coaching camps; this was its first attempt at the state level. It was working on specific inputs and the growing realisation that doping was not just a problem at the senior level, but widespread at the junior level as well.
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