Wrestling nationals conclude without any dope testing

Satyawart Kadiyan (second from left) won gold in the 97kg category at the wrestling nationals in Jalandhar. PTI Photo

The Senior Wrestling Championships concluded in Jalandhar on Sunday in the absence of any sort of drug testing by the National Anti Doping Agency (NADA). Over 700 athletes competed across 30 categories in the three-day competition.

"It is a serious problem that there was no dope testing here," said Wrestling Federation India president Brijbhushan Sharan. The absence of any sort of dope collection was especially problematic, he said, considering the nationals are being held just eight months before the Olympics and several athletes competing here will go on to compete in the Olympic qualification tournaments next year. "All the wrestlers should be tested, especially since it's an Olympic year. It's not just this tournament, they should be testing in all the wrestling events this year -- including the junior and U-23 tournaments," Sharan said.

NADA director general Navin Aggarwal appeared surprised when asked why no team from the agency was present to collect dope samples at the national championships. "I was not aware that the national championships are taking place," he told ESPN.

WFI president Sharan, however, said that NADA was informed of the tournament well in advance. "It is not right that the NADA is not coming to the nationals," he said. "We have already given them the calendar of events."

Wrestling general secretary Vinod Tomar said that while there no email was sent to NADA informing them of the competition, the drug-testing agency was told of the competition at the start of the year. "As per the Annual Calendar of Training and Competition (ACTC), the dates for the year's competition was made available at the start of the year," Tomar said. "In the minutes of the meeting where the ACTC was discussed, it was made clear that NADA was supposed to conduct dope testing at these competitions. NADA hasn't come for the senior nationals or even the juniors or U-23 tournaments."

Aggarwal defended his organisation saying that dope testing was conducted throughout the year and not just at the national championships. "We have tested the athletes through the year and conducted several out-of-competition tests in the camps," he said. "It was felt that it was not necessary to test them so soon after those tests."