Athletes may have taken stimulant inadvertently: NADA lab head

Sports Medicine experts say that many of the products used by the athletes do not mention the composition. With very few medical staff to educate them, athletes do not know whether they are using banned substances or not.

"This is a drug that athletes may have been using for a long time. They weren't even aware of it and must not have done it intentionally. Nobody takes a chance ... this new salt of the Methylhexaneamine was introduced in the WADA list only in January this year," NADA laboratory chief PSM Chandran told PTI.

He said he had examined one of the face pack products, which could have been used by female athletes and found that they did not carry generic name of stimulant Methylhexaneamine which is present in these products.

Shot-putter Saurabh Vij, who also tested positive for Methylhexaneamine had put the blame on geranium oil present in his face pack and the oil for face and body massage and Chandran does not rule it out.

"Geranium oil or the massage oil is freely available in the market. Methylhexaneamine may be present in this oil but that is not mentioned when you buy it and so you don't know you are actually using a banned substance," Chandran said.
Methylhexaneamine, classified by WADA as a banned substance only this year, increases alertness, delays fatigue and has a role in fat loss.

It is also used as a nasal decongestant and is popular in some countries as a party pill used as component of geranium oil approved for use in foods. It is claimed to be classified as a dietary supplement rather than a pharmaceutical product.
According to Chandran, awareness imparted to athletes on banned substances is not enough and more needs to be done to educate them how they have to be careful in using products whose composition is not known.
"Information needs to be given to athletes and more manpower needs to be brought in to disperse it," he said.

Lack of trained medical personnel and providing half baked information are something Chandran said has aggravated the problem.
Also doctors keeping on updating on the every addition in the WADA list may also not be feasible, Chandran added.

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