National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) shall begin the disciplinary hearings online. This is a welcome move by NADA given the current circumstances that have plagued the sporting world. The director-general of NADA, Mr Navin Agarwal has said that online hearing for all the pending cases of the Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel (ADDP) and Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel (ADAP) shall begin from May 8, 2020.
Will there be operational constraints for National Anti Doping Agency of India?
Acknowledging, Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel (ADDP) and Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel (ADAP) tireless work, he said 180 cases were disposed of last year. This also happens to be a record number of cases solved by both bodies.
Agarwal highlighted issues like ‘listing inconsistency’ and ‘unavailable internet’ related to conducting online hearings. He sounded optimistic about allowing athlete participation via audio calls for a smoother process. He also stressed that the athlete needs to have a stable internet facility at her residence. Nada is working to make arrangements at their end so that the athlete can be available either on audio or video call. Earlier, NADA had said that it was difficult to carry out routine testing due to the lockdown for COVID-19.
Precautionary measures related to COVID-19
Agarwal further said that they have requested the ministry to allow the Dope Control Officers (DCOs) for testing. National Institute of Sports Patiala and Sports Authority of India, Bengaluru is currently shut and no visitor is allowed in the campuses. This is due to government guidelines on lockdown and social distancing. NADA is in touch with the ministry to check if DCOs will be allowed.
Another cause of concern is the health of the Dope Control Officers (DCOs). NADA needs to ensure that they are symptom-free and should not have come in contact with a patient. Temperature check should be made mandatory for any outsider (DCOs) coming to the campus. DCOs have also been strictly advised to use proper masks and gloves and maintain at least a distance of two meters from the athlete.
The DG said that the testing can start again when the national camps begin. He also said that the samples can be sent to WADA laboratories in Doha and Belgium by cargo flights. This is due to the absence of WADA accredited laboratory in India and flight restriction outside India.
The mobile application developed by NADA can act as a good mechanism for athlete education on doping. The app according to Agarwal will be launched soon and awareness about anti-doping will be made available on the platform.