WADA mulling over introduction of hair sample test: expert

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New Delhi, Feb 6 (PTI) Along with blood and urinesamples, athletes will soon have to provide a sample of theirhair for doping test as World Anti Doping Agency iscontemplating introducing hair test for ascertaining dopelevel in participating sportspersons.

"WADA is pondering to introduce hair sample test too toscreen sportspersons for use of banned drugs. There is tocheck the drug abuse for a particular drug -- Clenbuterol --that is currently on its banned list," Dr Ashok Ahuja, formerhead of the Sports Medicine faculty, National Institute ofSports (NIS), Patiala, said.

"This drug is an excellent muscular strength booster. Thehair test can only tell that was the drug intentionally takenor not," said the man who is credited with having testedhundreds of dope-affected athletes said.

Talking about the drug, Ahuja said, "Clenbuterol steroidis given by veterinary doctors to pregnant cows to give birthto healthy calfs. It is also given to lambs and it is anexcellent growth enhancer for livestock.

"Traces of this drug can be found in humans who haveconsumed meat from clenbuterol-fed animals. Since it is anexcellent muscle booster it is unfortunately being used bysportspersons too.

"So to know that whether this drug abuse case detectedwith any sportsperson is because of intentional doping orbecause this drug got absorbed in the body while consumingmeat of an animal fed with this banned drug, a hair test cantell it all," he said.

Till now only blood and urine samples are collected byanti-doping agencies to check for drug abuse by athletes.

Ahuja said that Clenbuterol steroid will not beacceptable in any quantity by WADA.

Detailing about the hair test, he said, "It is aspecialised test. The concentration of this drug in the bodywill determine whether the doping was intentional or not.

"This drug if found in muscle route then it will beconsidered as deliberate doping and if found in the digestivesystem the athlete is safe," he said.

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