Reduced sanctions for dope cheats below national level

Reduced sanctions for dope cheats below national level

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Dope cheats who compete below the national level will be let off leniently for their offence, with a promise of quicker disposal of their cases according to the National Anti Doping Agency (NADA).

Claiming that the revised World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) Code, which came into effect on January 1, gave them the liberty to frame separate rules for athletes who compete below the national level, NADA director general Navin Agarwal said there will be reduced sanctions for those found guilty of using performance enhancing drugs.

The maximum punishment, this year onwards, for athletes below the national level will be a suspension of two years. Until now, two years was the minimum quantum of suspension for an athlete found guilty of doping. Athletes who compete in state-level meets, school games, university tournaments and the Khelo India Games, among others, will be governed by the new set of rules, Agarwal said.

“As per the new rules, which we have implemented from January 1 under the new WADA Code, there will be separate criteria for dope control of athletes below the national level. These tests will not be reported to WADA and will be governed by our regulations,” Agarwal said. “There will be milder penalties and quicker disposal of cases as they will not have stringent protocols required under the WADA rules.”

According to the data made available by WADA for the year 2019, India tops the list of dope offenders with 225 positive cases. Agarwal said most of the positive cases in India are related to athletes who compete below the national level.

The 2021 WADA Code gives a country’s National Anti-Doping Organisation the freedom to identify which athletes will be classified as national-level athletes. It also adds that the ‘test distribution plan should prioritize National-Level Athletes and above.’

Agarwal said the cases of this group of athletes will no longer be referred to NADA’s disciplinary panel. Instead, he added, there ‘will be a short procedure and a summary disposal of these cases so there is no delay.’

The purpose of reducing sanctions for the dope offenders, he said, was to give them a second chance. “The whole idea is that upcoming athletes should not be ineligible for life at such an early age because of any misinformation they get. We realised we are unnecessarily finishing careers of sportspersons at an early stage,” Agarwal said. “We need to control doping and for that, we will conduct tests on national-level athletes. But these rules are to give them another chance to renew their sporting career.”


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