Doping concern: India ranked 3rd in as many years in report conducted by WADA

Amju Bobby George (Image credit: Outlook India)

Kolkata: For the third year in a row, India has been ranked third in the world in a doping violation report published by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for 2015. During the stipulated period, India has had 117 athletes being punished after testing positive for banned substances, a sharp increase from the previous years. Numbers from WADA for 2015, the most recent full year available, found that 176 Russian athletes were guilty of anti-doping rule violations, more than any other nation. Italy is next on the list with 129 cases while India claimed third spot on the ignominious list.

What is seen as a cause of concern for India is the rise in the number of dope offenders. India had 91 and 96 Anti-doping Rule Violations (ADRVs) in 2013 and 2014 respectively and the spike up to 117 in a year is quite alarming. All the dope violations by the Indians came from urine samples. Officials and athletes in India have thus called for a robust monitoring system to check the rapid spread of doping in the country.

One such athlete has been India’s record holder and international long jumper Anju Bobby George, who won a bronze medal in the 2003 athletics World Championships in Paris, and she said that since information was just a click away, it was one of the main reasons for the doping graph going up. “You don’t need an advice of a medal expert or a coach to help you out these days because everything is easily available on the internet,” she said.

According to sports medicine expert Arun Mendiratta, there should be some regulation to check sale of banned drugs over the counter too. “It is also one of the root causes of widespread doping in the country. Since there is no restriction, almost all the banned drugs are easily available without medical prescription, it is adding fuel to fire,” he said.

Perhaps this could be one of the reasons why India has been among the top three nations, in terms of doping violations in the WADA reports made public earlier in 2013 and 2014. Mendiratta said that since drugs were available over the counter across the country, athletes on the fringes were taking them for quick gains. “That’s another reason for the number of dope offenders going up. Several upcoming athletes are failing dope tests in state and low-key events at the national level,” he added.

In the list published by WADA, bodybuilding had the most drug cases in 2015, with 270, followed by athletics with 242 incidents While the perennially drug-plagued sport of weightlifting accounted for 239 cases while cycling was fourth with 200.

(With inputs from PTI and Hindustan Times)

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