Out-of-competition testing a must: WADA chief special Correspondent.
Out-of-competition testing at an accredited lab is rare in India. IOA or NADA may have to take over testing and use accredited labsNew Delhi: Indian authorities will have to conduct out-of-competition testing to be compliant with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code.
The assertion came from the WADA President, John Fahey, during a teleconference from Montreal on Monday night in answer to a question from The Hindu. Asked whether WADA would advise Indian authorities to do even a minimum number of out-of-competition testing at an accredited laboratory, Mr. Fahey replied: Yes, for Code compliance they must.
If they haven't at this point in time, ultimately to be Code compliant they will have to do out-of-competition testing.WADA approves testing only in accredited laboratories. While answering another question later, Mr. Fahey said that a National Anti Doping Organisation (NADO) would not be recognized if it wasn't Code compliant.
Interim report. At the outset, Mr. Fahey, addressing reporters around the world following meetings of the WADA Executive and Foundation Board, his first as the WADA President, said that an interim report on Code compliance was presented at the meetings and there were several organizations that needed to do work in order to become compliant by November this year, the deadline given for all agencies.
The WADA chief did not disclose the number of organizations including international federations that were not compliant at this moment and said that he would be in a position to answer that only in November.
The rare phenomenon of out-of-competition testing at an accredited laboratory is almost unheard of in India.
The negligible number that has been done so far since the Code was drafted in 2003, actually comprises a few instances when the Sports Authority of India's Dope Control Centre (DCC), now renamed National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL), was undergoing upgrading and National federations were forced to send samples abroad.De facto agency even in-competition testing, except in the case of major international competitions where such testing is mandatory, has never been done at accredited laboratories either by the IOA or the federations till the last National Games in Guwahati in February last year.
SAI had been the de facto anti-doping agency in the country till now and though there has never been an official mandate, the IOA claimed last October that SAI was carrying out that role.
Any testing, in-competition or out-of-competition in India, has been done only at the NDTL, a facility that is under accreditation process, leading to a situation where transparency was completely lost and positive tests rarely followed up.
Now that the WADA President has stated that in order to become Code compliant India will have to start out-of-competition testing, either the IOA or the newly-constituted National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) will have to take over testing and use accredited laboratories, as required under WADA regulations.
The IOA will also have to do a considerable amount of work to become Code compliant by November since it does not have any provision in its constitution or a separate set of rules that has a reference in its constitution to show any anti-doping regulations at least till such time the NADA is in a position to take over.
Asked whether the composition of the Indian NADO with a predominant IOA-Government representation was in order and whether WADA would have wanted a more independent structure, Mr. Fahey said that it was up to the individual countries to determine the structure of their NADOs and boards. Positive measures WADA chief said that India was trying hard to do something positive and constructive and with the Commonwealth Games coming up in 2010 he said the process could well be speeded up.
The more advanced they are in the establishment of a NADO the better they can cope with the problems in their country and of course deal with international events like the Commonwealth Games. That's not a comment whether that's right or wrong in that country or anywhere else in the world other than to say that we want an effective anti-doping agency, said Mr. Fahey.
He warned growth hormone (HGH) users among the cheats getting ready for the Olympic Games. Refusing to elaborate whether there was to be an improvement in hGH testing in Beijing, Mr. Fahey said if they slip through the net (of testing in their countries), then on this hGH issue they should beware.
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