The World Anti-Doping Agency has suspended the accreditation of India’s National Dope Testing Laboratory for six months in a massive blow to the country’s anti-doping programme, which left the sports ministry surprised as it claimed Wada’s concerns were duly addressed.
The lab, which got Wada accreditation in 2008, is no longer authorised to carry out testing of the samples as the suspension is effective August 20. The development is a huge setback for India with less than a year left for the Tokyo Olympics.
The National Anti-Doping Agency (Nada) can still collect samples (blood and urine) but will have to get them tested by a Wada-accredited laboratory outside India.
Sports Secretary Radhey Shyam Julaniya said the move was surprising and could be a result of “business interests”.
“We have addressed all concerns raised by a Wada team during its last inspection in September 2018. So, the suspension came as a surprise to us,” Julaniya said.
“There is a huge business interest involved in this decision because the cost of testing in our laboratory is much cheaper than other countries,” he added.
The cost of testing is now expected to shoot up and it is feared that sample collection will come down drastically because of this, casting a shadow on India’s anti-doping programme.
“NDTL is separate from Nada, we do not come into the picture when it comes to testing. We only collect samples,” Nada Director General Navin Agarwal said when contacted.
It will be a tricky situation for the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS) after it forced the BCCI to come under the Nada umbrella after dogged resistance from the Board for a decade.
“It’s not our prerogative to think which accredited lab Nada will be using for the samples’ testing. It’s their concern and headache. As of now we will just wait and watch,” a senior BCCI official told PTI.