Govt surprised at NDTL’s suspension, says business interest behind WADA decision

Govt surprised at NDTL's suspension, says business interest behind WADA decision

The Sports Ministry on Friday expressed surprise at WADA’s decision to suspend the National Anti Doping Laboratory (NDTL) and alleged that a big business interest was the reason behind the world agency’s move.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has suspended the accreditation of NDTL for six months in a massive blow to the country’s anti-doping programme, the cost of which will rise significantly now.

The NDTL, which got WADA accreditation in 2008, is no longer authorised to carry out testing of the samples as the suspension is effective August 20.

“We have addressed all the concerns raised by a WADA team during its last visit in September 2018. So, the suspension came as a surprise to us because they are administering medicine when the disease has already been cured,” Sports Secretary Radhey Shyam Julaniya told PTI.

“There is a huge business interest behind this decision because the cost of testing in our laboratory is much cheaper than anywhere in the world. Many East African countries have approached us to test their samples and it seems it didn’t go down well with WADA,” he added.

As per the suspension order of WADA, the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) can still collect samples (urine and blood) but will have to get them tested at a WADA-accredited laboratory outside India.

Julaniya, who is also the CEO of NDTL, said lack of an Indian representative in the WADA board has cost the country dear.

“There are four Asian representatives in WADA but none from India, so the Sports Minister Mr. Kiren Rijiju has written to WADA to include an Indian member when the vacancy arises next,” he said.

Julaniya said India is in no hurry to appeal against the suspension of NDTL as the country had already achieved its target of sample testing for the year.

“We have all options in our hands. We will thoroughly prepare our case and take a decision on our next step after 18 days,” he said.

“We had a target of 3,000 sample testing for the year and we have crossed the