Sports ministry says 103 Indian players have failed doping tests

New Delhi, Sept.12 (ANI): As many as 103 Indian sportspersons, including juniors, have flunked dope-related tests in the last eight months, a sports ministry official said on Saturday.

With just 26 days left for the Commonwealth Games, six wrestlers, three swimmers, two runners and one netball player have failed doping tests conducted by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA), causing huge embarrassment to the hosts.

"If you see the overall picture, from January to August, we have taken 2,047 samples out of which 103 were found positive," said Rahul Bhatnagar, Joint Secretary (International Sports Division) in India's Sports Ministry.

Eleven out of the twelve cases have tested positive for Methylhexaneamine, which is used as a nasal decongestant and is also found in geranium oil, which is widely used in cooking oil in the country.

Until recently, Methylhexaneamine was not in the list of banned substances of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The substance, a powerful nerve stimulant, was added to the list in January 2010.

Many believe that ignorance and a lack of awareness about new substances in the country might be the main reason behind some of the athletes failing the tests.

"In some cases, the coaches and even the support personnel give suggestions to intake certain items. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the sportsperson to be careful. We organize seminars and coaching camps to educate them about the banned substances and tell them that they have to be very careful. These are things that can affect their careers and can have a very long term effect," said Bhatnagar.

WADA puts the list of banned substances in their generic names on their website. Lack of proper information about the products or medicines in which these substances could be found can prove fatal for athletes in a country like India, where awareness about sports medicine is next to nil.

Doping has long been the bane of Indian sports, especially weightlifting that produces the highest number of offenders.

After six lifters flunked drug tests last year, the Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWF) was slapped with a 500,000 dollar fine by the international body. The latter also threatened to ban the federation if the amount was not cleared in full by August this year. (ANI)

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