The World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) and Australian Sports Anti Doping Agency (ASADA) have urged their Indian counterparts to impose sanctions on five Greco-Roman wrestlers and coach Kuldeep Singh for not cooperating and creating hurdles during a dope test at the Asian Championships here last month.
India’s National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) has said they will ‘look into the issue’ but its director general Naveen Agarwal said they will not take any immediate action until they hear the coach’s version of the events. On May 9, a team of Australia’s anti-doping officers selected five Indian Greco-Roman wrestlers for an out-of-competition test as part of their dope testing programme ahead of next year’s Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. The ASADA officials chose the Indian wrestlers during the weigh-in on the eve of the continental tournament.
The Indian coach and wrestlers protested and refused to give their urine samples immediately, making the dope testing officers wait till late in the night. The five tested wrestlers were Harpreet Singh (80kg), Gurpreet Singh (75kg), Ravinder (66kg), Hardeep (98kg) and Naveen (130kg). Their samples returned negative along with 49 other tests conducted by the NADA during the Asian Championships. “They came exactly at the time of weigh-ins. Since the wrestlers drain their body completely for the weigh-in, it was 10.30pm when they could submit the urine samples. Till then, the wrestlers could not even have their meals,” a coach had said back then.
Later, the Australian officials alleged the hurdles were created for their accommodation as well and the ASADA reported the incident to the world body. During a conference call with NADA chief Agarwal, the two agencies brought up this issue and demanded that sanctions be imposed on the Indian wrestlers.
“ASADA have complained that when they’d gone at the Asian Championships, that time coaches weren’t cooperating with procedure. The Australian agency and WADA were insisting that whenever they select an athlete for dope test, they have to first do that and then go other things. So WADA was of the opinion that these people should be charged as per the rules,” Agarwal said.
As per WADA rules, not cooperating for dope tests could result in a two-year ban on the athletes while their coach can’t work with a national team for the same duration. Agarwal said NADA spoke to the coaches and found their reasons genuine. “There was logic in what the coaches were saying therefore I did not agree to pressing charges immediately,” Agarwal said.
Instead, the WADA will soon be issuing advisory to all the federations, demanding that they cooperate with the Australian officers in the run up to the CWG.