The inability of the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) to correctly follow-up adverse analytical reports has resulted in two leading athletes competing in National meets despite having tested positive.
Mohammed Ibrar, a long jumper from the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Vikas Poonia, a discus thrower from Rajasthan, had turned in ‘positive' dope tests prior to the Federation Cup meet in Ranchi (May 1-4) but competed there. More shockingly, Poonia competed again, at the Open National championships in Kochi (May 15-18).
The practice by NADA so far had been to report the ‘positive' to the federations without imposing provisional suspensions on the athletes.
There have been recent cases where NADA has simply forwarded letters from employers to the hearing panels to suggest that suspensions could be started from the date an employer barred the athlete from representing the unit.
NADA's revised rules, applicable from January 1, 2010, however, stipulate that while imposing final sanctions, concessions can only be granted to athletes if a provisional suspension had been imposed and not when an athlete had been barred by his team or club. Even in the old rules there was no provision to account for a suspension by an employer.
The revised WADA Code (2009 version) also demands that there has to be “mandatory provisional suspension” after an adverse analytical report on the ‘A' sample.
Such provisional suspensions can, however, only be imposed after an initial review and a provisional hearing, prior to a provisional suspension or immediately after that, or an expedited hearing.
NADA, if one has to fall back on the practice followed so far, does not have a mechanism to fulfil all these responsibilities. And thus the confusion arises as to which agency will impose a provisional suspension.