Rijiju holds talks with WADA president, urges the world anti-doping body to lift NDTL’s suspension | More sports News

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NEW DELHI: India’s National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL) has rectified the outstanding non-conformities related to the World Anti-Doping Agency‘s (WADA) ‘International Standard for Laboratories’ and is now fully compliant with the WADA‘s procedures to carry out the analytical testing of samples and research to identify the presence of banned drugs in Indian athletes, the government has informed.
Sports minister Kiren Rijiju has requested WADA president Witold Banka to lift the suspension of the NDTL at the earliest after the Indian lab corrected all 47 deviations to its drug testing methods as pointed out by a visiting WADA team of laboratory experts last year.
Rijiju discussed the NDTL’s issue in his online meeting with Banka on Tuesday, during which the minister also spoke about the lab’s readiness to conduct tests as per WADA guidelines. “I have been informed that NDTL has submitted all the 47 corrective action reports to WADA as per timelines defined by WADA and also sent a compliance report on the 13 decision points conveyed by the Chair of the WADA Executive Committee. With this, NDTL now stands fully compliant with all requirements of WADA and the International Standard of Laboratories (ISL). I would request you to expedite the process and organise to lift the suspension of NDTL’s WADA accreditation,” he said. WADA’s accreditation of NDTL has been under suspension since August 20, 2019.
Rijiju also invited the WADA team for an on-site visit of the NDTL. “Once international travel is allowed, I would request a WADA team to visit the NDTL and check if all upgradations are as per the satisfaction of the WADA. If anything else needs amendments, we will do so,” he added.
Inviting the WADA president to visit India, Rijiju also offered to extend the support to WADA in terms of a greater financial contribution as well as manpower resources. “We are good at scientific research and I feel that the presence of Indian representatives in your various committees will be beneficial. On behalf of my government, I would like to assure you that as a member nation, India is willing to extend all support.” NDTL is headed by a Chief Executive Officer (CEO), who is the secretary sports. Ravi Mittal is presently the sports secretary.
On July 22 this year, WADA had extended the NDTL’s suspension for a second period for another six months until January 2021 following the New Delhi-based facility’s failure to correct the outstanding ISL non-conformities. The NDTL was originally banned on August 20, 2019 for a period of six months until February 2020, following a WADA on-site visit. The fresh suspension period had kicked off from July 17.
Due to the NDTL’s continued suspension, the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) has been forced to reduce its sample collection rate by at least 50 percent. The high cost involved in transporting the athlete’s urine samples to Qatar’s Doha-based laboratory has strained NADA’s hands which carried out its anti-doping activities nationwide on a meagre annual budget of Rs 8 crore (2019-20 financial year). Moreover, the NADA has stopped collecting blood samples because of the laboratory’s ban.
The NDTL’s continued suspension was the result of its failure to correct the Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (IRMS) analytical method, which differentiates whether the prohibited substance has entered an athlete’s body endogenously or exogenously. In February 2020, when the six-month suspension period elapsed and outstanding non-conformities hadn’t been addressed successfully, WADA’s Laboratory Expert Group (LabEG) recommended the initiation of further disciplinary proceedings against the laboratory. The suspension prohibits the NDTL from carrying out any anti-doping activities, including all analyses of urine and blood samples.



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