The majority of the competitors in India’s biggest weightlifting competition were caught using banned performance-enhancing drugs.
The India National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) surprised weightlifters with unannounced drug testing at the 2019 National Weightlifting Championships in Visakhapatnam (India) in February 2019. At least 14 of the 26 competitors reportedly tested positive for one or more prohibited substance.
The weightlifters were obviously not expecting to be drug tested. The potential adverse analytical findings reportedly involved anabolic steroids and selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs).
The names of the weightlifters have not been publicly released. But the failed doping tests include at least one 2010 Commonwealth Games weightlifting champion.
The Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWLF) was left in the unenviable position of explaining how so many of the country’s top athletes could have been involved in doping. IWLF Secretary Sahdev Yadav unconvincingly managed to express the federation stated opposition to doping.
“I have not received any information so far. If such a development happens, due procedure will be followed. We are against doping,” Yadav stated.
Steroids and PEDs are rampant in Indian weightlifting.
The Indian weightlifting community has had its fair share of doping problems in recent months. It is still recovering from a huge doping scandal at the 2018 India National Junior Weightlifting Championships in Nagpur on December 15-22, 2018.
NADA found that 9 out of 30 weightlifters had tested positive for anabolic steroids and other banned PEDs in Nagpur. This included six boys and six girls in the sub-junior (under-17) and junior (under-20) categories. The drugs involved included Winstrol, Turinabol, Nolvadex and GW1516.
NADA Director General Navin Agarwal reported that weightlifters at the Junior National Championships were targeted based on intelligence gathered by the agency. However, the 14 weightlifters at the National Championships were caught by random drug testing.
The unavoidable conclusion is that steroid and PED use is so rampant that random testing is capable of catching dopers just as well as targeted testing.
Sarangi, YB. (May 16, 2019). Fourteen weightlifters fail dope tests, asked to leave national camp. Retrieved from sportstar.thehindu.com/athletics/fourteen-weightlifters-dope-tests-fail-asked-to-leave-national-camp-vishakapatnam/article27151779.ece