New Delhi, April 22 (IANS) Six athletes from paramilitary and police forces have tested positive ahead of the 2012 London Olympics and face a ban for one to two years. Caught before the sporting extravaganza could unfold, it has saved the country from a major embarrassment.
The athletes, who participated in the 60th All India Police Athletics Championship (AIPAC) organised here between March 12 and 15 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, failed to clear the doping test conducted by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA).
"The reports of the six athletes -- two from Punjab Police and one each from the Border Security Force (BSF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Odisha Police -- were found positive," Rahul Bhatnagar, director general, NADA, told IANS.
Expressing concern over the players failing the doping test, Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) spokesperson Hemendra Singh said, "It is shameful for paramilitary and police forces that their personnel have been found positive for consuming prohibited substances during games."
"After getting good ranks in domestic level championships, including AIPAC, the names of the athletes are sent to the Olympic games. If they had failed to clear the dope test at the Olympics, it would have brought national shame," Singh told IANS.
"I am ashamed that the number of positive samples of sportspersons participating from these forces are increasing. Such athletes must be punished by the department to keep a curb on the use of prohibited substances," said Singh.
Surprisingly this year, the number of positive samples reached six in comparison to only two in the last two years.
"This year a total of 55 samples were taken in which six were found positive while in 58th and 59th AIPAC respectively organised in 2010 and 2011 in Pune and Rohtak, two out of 93 collected samples were found positive," Bhatnagar said.
"A letter has been sent to the All India Police Sports Control Board (AIPSCB) regarding positive samples of the athletes. The athletes found positive will be banned from playing in any domestic, national and international tournaments," Athletics Federation of India (AFI) director M.L. Dogra told IANS.
The athletes face a ban for one or two years from participating in any tournament if found guilty by NADA tribunal court.
NADA had collected random samples of blood and urine of the athletes participating in the games.
This year's reports of sample 'A' received from the National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL), New Delhi found six out of 55 samples containing prohibited substances notified by World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
Bhatnagar said two samples of blood and urine each are taken from suspected athletes which are called sample 'A' and 'B'.
Clarifying the technical difference between the samples, Bhatnagar said "Sample 'A' is examined first. If the report is found positive, the athlete is given a notice and sample 'B' test is done in his presence.
In percentage terms, the athletes had 11 percent of prohibited substances in their samples which is much higher than the average of four percent. The substances generally reported are Stanozolol, Furosemide (Diuretics), Methandienone and Nandrolone.
"All the six athletes have been given notice for conducting their sample 'B' test in their presence. If athletes again test positive in the sample 'B' test they will be produced before tribunal court, which can punish them with provisional suspension or normal suspension," said Bhatnagar.
Bhatnagar clarified that during provisional suspension the players cannot participate in any championship till a limited time directed by the court, while during normal suspension the athlete is allowed to participate in any championship. Provisional suspension is given to those athletes whose samples have specific substances.
NADA has also earlier written to the police authorities regarding the prevalence of doping in sportspersons belonging to police and requested them to take effective measures to curb this menace.
(Rajnish Kumar Singh can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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