The World Anti-Doping Agency’s (Wada) six-month ban on the National Dope Testing Laboratory’s (NDTL) here could be because of business rivalry, according to sports secretary Radhey Shyam Julania said.
“I do not rule out the possibility of business interests. We charge one-fourth to one-tenth for tests as compared to European countries. We offer our services to African and East European countries at the same cost as we charge Indian athletes. Informally it was suggested to us that we should increase our rate, we said ‘no’. This is a service and anti-doping is our priority. This affects the business of European labs. When you are picking up their business, they will try and do something to stop you,” Julania said.
The sports secretary shared an interaction he had with a representative from Kazakhstan in Beijing at an anti-doping conference last week. “They (Kazhakstan) said they are sending it (samples) to a European laboratory and it is costing them $1,000. We said we are doing the same test for $70 dollars. We told them why are you sending it there, send it to us. All expenses accounted for, it comes to $100,” Julania added. The 31 WADA accredited laboratories spread over Asia (6), Africa (1), Europe (17), Americans (6) and Oceania (1). With countries free to send their samples anywhere in the world for testing, laboratories compete to woo potential clients. Julania explained why testing in India was cheaper. “In India the funding is by the government, so capital costs does not constitute a part of the costing. We are only charging the consumable cost and it is not a profit activity for us. For us anti-doping is a social service and clean athletes is the priority of the government,” he said. However, the sports secretary does say that there were issues with NDTL. In September last year, Wada, after inspecting the lab, found 47 non-conformities.
“In the intervening period, 43 were looked into and resolved but WADA insisted on taking action based on the findings from 11 months ago. I told the Wada president, ‘Don’t go by history but go by today’s position’, but they said that their process says they will go by date of inspection’,” Julania said.
India wants Wada rep
To ensure that Indian anti-doping authorities have a voice in Wada, the sports minister Kiren Rijiju is set to file his nomination for the foundation board of the world body. Saudi Arabia, China, Republic of Korea and Japan are the current Asia representatives. “India does not have a representation in the Wada board. Last time there was a vacancy nobody from India filed a nomination. Now the South Korea seat is getting vacant, so this time our sports minister is contesting so that we can have representation. If you are not represented you suffer.”