The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has come back to haunt the Indian weightlifters. A team of doctors specially flew down from Hungary to visit the national weightlifting camp currently under way in National Institute of Sports, Patiala, on Saturday, and cornered India’s top weightlifters for the out-of-competition doping test.
dna has reliably learnt that 21 samples were collected by the Hungarian team of doctors before letting the campers resume their training activities. With the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games scheduled later this year, more such raids are expected to take place in the next couple of months.
The fact that the entire team of doctors that raided the camp had no member from India’s National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) clearly hints towards WADA’s intentions to keep a strict vigil on tainted sports federations.
This is the main reason why boxing and athletics national camps were not even touched during the raid.
The weightlifters whose samples were collected include Commonwealth Games gold medallist K Ravi Kumar, Chandrakant D Mali, Sukhen Dey and promising woman lifter Saikhom Mirabai Chanu, who won three bronze medals at the Junior World Weightlifting Championships in Peru last year.
Sukhen Dey is the only lifter in the list who has a tainted past when he was suspended in 2011 for flunking a dope test during the Continental Grand Prix in Malaysia.
“The WADA team did come to our Patiala camp and took samples of our weightlifters. We completely cooperated with the team,” said the Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWF) vice-president Sahdev Yadav, confirming the raid.
It must be mentioned here that IWF nearly missed Commonwealth Games participation in 2010 when the international body let it off with a $500,000 fine after deciding against imposing a ban as six of its lifters had failed the dope tests conducted by WADA and NADA.
Before this, in 2005 and 2006, IWF was banned twice in seven months after several of its lifters tested positive in random tests.
“I hope that our lifters have learnt from the past mistakes of their seniors. There should not be any doubt in anyone’s mind that even the slightest of mistakes can invite life ban. Now that major international events are fast approaching, WADA can conduct more such raids,” said a senior IWF official, without wanting to be named.
Though the result of the 21 samples collected will take time before being made public, one thing is for sure. If any Indian weightlifter is caught, a life ban is all that IWF can expect.