WADA slaps 6 month ban on India’s National Dope Testing Lab for disregarding best practices

Image Courtesy: Twitter/PTI

The National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL), India’s only lab for conducting drug test of athletes, faced a suspension last year by the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA). Now, WADA has extended the suspension for another six months, and has adduced the reason being NDTL not maintaining best practices when it comes to conducting tests.

Image Courtesy: Twitter/PTI

The laboratory, located in New Delhi, is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. Established in 1990, it is one of the 34 laboratories across the world accredited by WADA and the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Following a site visit last year, WADA had banned NDTL from carrying out dope tests for six months, due to not conforming to the International Standard for Laboratories (ISL).

Now, the lab is slapped with another six month of suspension for the same reason, after a fresh round of investigation showed that the practices are still not on par with international standards. The lab will again be barred from conducting urine and blood tests of athletes.

“The World Anti-Doping Agency has suspended the accreditation of the National Dope Testing Laboratory in New Delhi, India, for a second period of up to six months,” an official statement from WADA revealed.

Following the closure of the first suspension in February, WADA’s Laboratory Expert Group (LabEG) conducted a second scrutiny of the lab, which recommended an additional ban of up to six months, as the standards still haven’t improved.

“These disciplinary proceedings were carried out by an independent Disciplinary Committee…The disciplinary process is now complete and the second six-month suspension began on 17 July 2020,” WADA’s statement further added.

Following the announcement, Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju stated on Twitter that the initial suspension notice was given out before he assumed the position of NDTL chairman.

“WADA served suspension notice before I took over as Chairman of National Dope Testing Laboratory. The rules of revoking it’s accreditation after 6 months suspension is avoided by extending the suspension period because all technical problems are being addressed now,” Rijiju tweeted.

NDTL’s current suspension will be in effect till January 2021. However, the lab has the option to make an appeal against WADA’s decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

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