CHENNAI: The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is currently 'reviewing information' given to them by the National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL) in New Delhi. "The process remains ongoing and the WADA Laboratory Expert Advisory Group (EAG) is currently reviewing the information provided by the New Delhi laboratory," a WADA spokesperson told this daily. "WADA will release a statement on any updates regarding the laboratory."
If the EAG is satisfied by the responses provided to it by NDTL, NDTL's operations can be restored but it remains unknown if WADA has already undertaken a site visit. In most cases where a laboratory's accreditation has been suspended, the world body does not reinstate that till they undertake on site inspection. NDTL has already had multiple six-month suspension periods placed on it by WADA. In some cases, WADA could decide to permanently revoke a lab's accreditation but there's nothing to suggest that WADA will take that step with respect to New Delhi. Thanks to this impasse, the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) have had to send their samples to other labs.
While the body refused to divulge what information was being reviewed, it's now more than two years since the NDTL's accreditation was first suspended by WADA. Since August 2019, NDTL has not been able to carry out dope tests. "This suspension has been imposed due to non-conformities with the International Standard for Laboratories (ISL) as identified during a WADA site visit,” WADA had stated in a media release then.
Interestingly, the then sports minister Kiren Rijiju had said in September 2020 that NDTL were now fully compliant and requested WADA to lift the suspension. "NDTL has taken various corrective measures prescribed by the WADA and we hope to resume dope analysis under the WADA guidelines," he had told WADA chief Witold Banka. "I am eagerly looking forward to you and your team's visit to India as and when the Covid-19 pandemic situation improves," he had said.
However, that belief proved to be misplaced as the world body refused to restore the accreditation at the turn of the year. One wonders what the result will be after they finish 'reviewing information'.