NADA visits wrestlers as testing resumes

Vinayak Padmadeo

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 16

After waiting for months for the green signal from the Union Health Ministry, the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) has resumed sample collection of Indian athletes. Ten national wrestlers, located in Sonepat and Lucknow, were the first batch of athletes whose urine samples were taken after a break.

Top wrestlers Vinesh Phogat and Pooja Dhanda were among the five women grapplers whose samples were taken last Monday. Among the men, the five whose samples were taken last Saturday included Bajrang Punia, Narsingh Yadav and Gourav Baliyan.

The resumption happened after NADA’s Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for sample collection during the Covid-19 pandemic was cleared by the Health Ministry.

AS per the SOP, the Sample Collection Personnel collect samples with gloves and a facemask on, and in addition they would be provided with PPE kits if blood samples are to be collected.

However, NADA has decided to collect only urine samples for now, and they will “consider blood sample collection only if intelligence warrants it or if Athlete Biological Passport blood samples on athletes from high risk endurance sports are urgently required”.

“We have commenced dope testing after the approval of SOP by the Health Ministry. We did out-of-competition as well as in-competition testing on both national and internationals cricketers. In other sports as well we have begun testing, like wrestling,” NADA director Navin Agarwal told The Tribune.

He clarified that sample collection has been scaled down and only those athletes who are in the Registered Testing Pool or are Olympics hopefuls will be tested for now.

“We had to scale testing down this year as due to Covid there are no competitions this year and whatever sample collection will be done it will have to be out of competition tests,” he said.

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