No Indian in IAAF dope testing pool

The International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF), in a surprise move, has removed all the Indian athletes from its current Registered Testing Pool (RTP) despite the country sharing the top spot with Russia in the list of dope offenders.

Both India and Russia have 53 athletes who are serving bans for doping offences. This is the first time since October 2010, the Indians have been left out of the IAAF’s RTP. 

The last time the Indian athletes figured in the RTP was on March 3 this year when the names of Mandeep Kaur and Jauna Murmu were in the list. 

Three weeks later their names have also been removed.

The RTP allows an international federation to keep tabs on top-level athletes or those with abnormal improvement graph to test them unannounced at their training bases and residences anywhere in the world.
 
Being in RTP is a deterrent for athletes as there is always a possibility of being tested. 

Three missed tests during an 18-month period constitute a doping offence equivalent to a standard doping infraction that carries a suspension of up to two years.
 
With the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games round the corner, one would have expected the IAAF to include more Indian athletes in its RTP.
 
Interestingly even in 2010, none of the Indian athletes were tested by IAAF and they came out in flying colours in the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games. 

It was only after their stunning performances that the IAAF included some Indians in its RTP. 

At one point of time post-Asian Games there were as many as 10 Indian athletes in the list.

Encouraging cheats

Track legend PT Usha felt the move by the IAAF would encourage dope cheats. 

“At least some of the top athletes should have been included in the testing pool as it would have been good for athletics. It would have forced the athletes to be careful while training. Especially with Commonwealth Games and Asian Games coming, it is not a good move,” Usha told Deccan Herald.
 
In 2011, six female quartermilers, who figured in the gold-medal winning CWG and Asian Games teams, tested positive for banned susbstances. 
 
The case came into the picture after Mandeep and Jauna returned positive in out of competition tests done by the IAAF. 
 
The others were Sini Jose, Priyanka Panwar, Tiana Mary Thomas and Ashwini A C All were subsequently suspended for two years.
 
The National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) is yet to launch its ‘whereabouts’ programme in athletics despite the rising number of positive tests returned in the sport. 

However, it insists the scheme would be implemented after the CWG.  
 
“It is in process and should be implemented in a couple of months post the Commonwealth Games,” said NADA Senior Project Officer D S Perumal.

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