In what may come as an embarrassing revelation for India's anti-doping machinery, 500 sportspersons, mostly weightlifters and track-and-field athletes, have failed drug tests conducted by NADA in the last four and a half years.
A total of 500 athletes were found to have violated Anti Doping Rules from January 2009 till July 2013 by the country's main anti-doping agency and a total of 423 athletes were slapped with sanctions by the Anti Doping Disciplinary Panel (ADDP).
These findings were revealed by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) in response to an RTI reply. Official figures by the anti-doping agency have come up with some shocking statistics.
"NADA came into effect from January 2009. As a result of dope testing, a total of 500 athletes were found to have violated Anti Doping Rules till July 2013. A total of 423 athletes were imposed sanction by Anti Doping Disciplinary Panel (ADDP). Athletics tops the drug offenders' list. As a result, action taken by NADA, athletes were sanctioned by anti-doping panels," said NADA in response to the RTI.
"Since NADA has come into effect from January 2009, total 14,684 dope samples were collected from January 2009 to July 2013. NADA has conducted 9898 dope tests during the last three years on athletes. Athletics tops the list with 113 doping rule violations followed by 92 in weightlifting," said NADA.
A report by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in August this year had revealed that India has the second highest number of dope cheats (43) in the world just behind Russia, 44 of whose athletes are on the suspended list.
India was in fact on top until July but the number of suspended athletes fell from 52 to 43 after the IAAF lifted nine suspensions.
The other sports disciplines featuring high number of drug cheats include Kabaddi (58), Bodybuilding (51), Powerlifting (42), Wrestling (41), Boxing (36) and Judo (9).
NADA said it has taken stringent measures against doping in various sports disciplines during the period of 2009-2012.
"NADA has conducted numerous workshops, educational and awareness programmes about the prohibited substances and methods in sports across the country for sportspersons, young athletes, coaches and supporting staff. Through the year, NADA has conducted outreach programmes at various centres and over 8000 sportspersons, including supporting staff attended such programmes.
"The technical officials of NADA are regularly visiting SAI Regional Centres and training camps and educating the athletes on doping in sports and harmful side effects of the dope substances by conducting lectures/seminars/workshops on regular basis with the help of dope control handbooks," it said.
The anti-doping watchdog further informed that it was co-ordinating with CBSE schools and School Games Federation of India both at the national and regional levels for programmes regarding anti-doping measures through sports events organised by the NSFs.
"Keeping social focus on rural sports centres, various anti-doping awareness symposia and workshops have been conducted in the SAI training centres in rural areas. As a result of such concrete steps, effective action is being taken by the government to reduce the incidences of doping in sports with the objective of eliminating the menace," it said.
NADA said it plans to expedite the hearings of Indian athletes found guilty of dope offence.
"Hearings are conducted on the basis of anti-doping rules and every effort is made to hold them as expeditiously as possible keeping in view the interest of all the stakeholders."