Probe panel issues dope testing guidelines
Source: The Sangai Express / Manipur Info Centre

New Delhi, September 19: Following the acceptance of the recommendations of TS Krishna Murthy Enquiry Report on Laishram Monika Devi by the Government of India, the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports has issued detailed guidelines for Dope testing procedures to create a clean and healthy environment for sports in India Former Chief Election Commissioner TS Krishna Murthy was appointed last month by the Government to examine circumstances and issues connected with dope testing of the international weightlifter Laishram Monika Devi of Manipur.

In the report Krishna Murthy mentioned, "It is no doubt true that the testing process and the result thereof had been kept under suspense for too long a period, notwithstanding the various reasons advanced by the NDTL contributing to the delay.

"In my opinion, this is an area where immediate intervention is called for from the Ministry so that in future no such lapses take place and proper guidelines to be given to NDTL so that a contingency plan is also available with the laboratory in case of unforeseen anticipated delays".

The Sports Ministry, in its communication sent yesterday to Director General, National Anti-Doping Agency, Director General, Sports Authority of India, President, Indian Olympic Association, President and Secretary General of all National Sports Federations, stated "it is important that all efforts be made to prevent Indian Athletes and Supporting Personnel from using illegal and artificial performance enhancing drugs and at the same time to promote a healthy lifestyle among our athletes.

"While it is necessary that athletes are tested periodically both in competition and out of competitions for dope in accordance with internationally accepted norms, it is also necessary that the athletes should be given the due respect and regard while the tests are being done on them and that the procedure adopted for testing should be fully transparent and unbiased".

It also stated, "for athletes who spend most of their productive years in pursuit of excellence in their sports, it can come as a great setback and mental shock if they are accused of/or imposed with sanctions on the basis of adhoc or arbitrary procedures and inaccurate results.

While there should be no leniency towards athletes for whom the use of illegal substances or methods has been established, it is absolutely necessary that according to the Rules in force the procedures must be fully and meticulously followed".

The guidelines which came into immediate effect mentioned, 'The testing laboratory will adhere to the International Standard for Laboratories when processing samples ensuring that the chain of custody is maintained at all times.

samples will be analyzed and the samples securely stored and may be used to confirm an Adverse Analytical Findings from the sample'.

The laboratory will complete the analysis of the samples in the time stipulated under the International Standard for Laboratory.

The report of the laboratory will be sent to the Sports Authority of India (SAI) within 24 hours after the analysis is completed, the panel further recommended.

The SAI will, after the procedures for decoding etc, ensure that the results negative or positive or where further investigations are required in respect of athletes are communicated to the concerned National Federation within 48 hours of receipt of report from the laboratory.

The National Sports Federations, after receipt of the report from SAI will ensure that the concerned athlete is communicated in writing the results within 48 hours of receipt of the report by the Federation from SAI.

Once the athlete has received the notification and before the National Sports Federation imposes a provisional suspension the athlete must be given a provisional hearing prior to the imposition of the provisional suspension or a provisional hearing as soon as possible within 10 days after the imposition of the provisional suspension.

It may be mentioned that weightlifter Laishram Monika Devi was not allowed to take part in the Beijing Olympic Games 2008 following the last minute withdrawal from the Indian contingent on the charge of positive dope test.