The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has found “clear evidence” that India’s National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) is not managing the whereabout clause of athletes properly, identifying 12 positive tests and 97 whereabouts failures involving 70 athletes during an investigation.
WADA’s independent Intelligence and Investigations (I&I) Department on Tuesday published a report following an investigation into allegations that elements of NADA’s testing programme were not in accordance with the WADA Code and the International Standard for Testing and Investigations (ISTI).
“WADA I&I’s long-running investigation, known as ‘Operation Carousel’, was launched in 2018, and uncovered evidence that NADA did not carry out adequate testing on some athletes in NADA’s registered testing pool (RTP) while also failing to put in place appropriate monitoring of athletes’ whereabouts information.
“The investigation monitored select sports and athletes within India and, as a result, in cooperation with NADA, 12 positive tests (Adverse Analytical Findings) and 97 whereabouts failures of 70 athletes were identified. These are now subject to results management processes as appropriate,” said the WADA report.
WADA noted there was clear evidence NADA was lacking in resources.
“Since 2016, WADA has been working with NADA to improve its anti-doping program, providing various corrective actions to address non-conformities with the World Anti-Doping Code and International Standards,” said WADA I&I director, Gunter Younger.
“In parallel and in response to tips coming through our confidential information platform, ‘Speak Up!’, WADA I&I launched ‘Operation Carousel’, which uncovered clear evidence that NADA’s lack of resources meant it was not carrying out a sufficient level of testing and it did not have satisfactory oversight and management of whereabouts filings by athletes in the registered testing pool.” The report though said that since ‘Operation Carousel’ was launched NADA is trying to take corrective measures and strengthen its resources.
“Since ‘Operation Carousel’ began to engage openly with NADA in late 2022, NADA has strengthened its testing program by improving internal processes and bringing in significant additional resources, both human and financial.
“As a result, both the collection of blood samples and out-of-competition testing (urine and blood) has increased. Moreover, NADA has doubled its sample collection staff, including doping control officers, and made significant improvements to its whereabouts management.” The report added that even though NADA continues to receive help in strengthening its anti-doping programme, WADA will continue to monitor the progress.
“The organisation is receiving external assistance to develop and strengthen its anti-doping programs further, including its investigative and intelligence capabilities. Going forward, WADA’s Compliance Taskforce will continue to monitor the activities of NADA to ensure it upholds the high standards demanded by the Code and all related International Standards,” the report added.
In 2019, NADA was suspended by the world body for six months due to non-conformities with the international standard of laboratories (ISL).