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Federations failing to control doping owing to expenses

By Alam Zeb Safi
May 26, 2016

KARACHI: National federations always face problems in conducting dope tests of athletes ahead of national championships due to lack of resources.

A single test costs a federation more than 200 dollars which is not always easy for them because of their weak financial position.

‘The News’ has learnt that in the current financial year which ends next month only the Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP) has conducted tests — of five athletes after their participation in the National Athletics Championship in Quetta early this month.

The AFP had requested Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) for the purpose and the Board’s medical wing headed by Dr Waqar sent the samples of the athletes abroad.

The AFP did not confirm its results. “We are yet to receive the report. It will take some time,” an AFP source told ‘The News’.

It has also been learnt that while filing the request with the Board the AFP had made it clear that the federation would bear all the expenses of the tests.

But most of the federations cannot bear the expenses and so they do not conduct any tests. “We don’t have money for such tests. We hardly meet our other expenses,” a federation official said.

Following mysterious deaths of some bodybuilders last month, Pakistan Cycling Federation (PCF) wrote to the ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) that cyclists’ tests should be conducted ahead of National Championship held early this month in Lahore. A copy of the request had also been sent to the PSB, a source revealed.

But the PCF was told that it should conduct the tests itself as the Board did not have money. As a result the tests were not conducted.

As per rules, the PSB conducts dope tests of athletes ahead of any major international spectacle. But it is the responsibility of federations to carry out the tests by themselves ahead of any national event.

Federations are bound to control doping as per international doping code. If three or more athletes of a federation fail to clear dope test during any international event the federation is suspended. This is why federations want to have a laboratory in Pakistan. “A laboratory is very important as it will bring down the cost of such tests,” an official of a federation said.

But it is not easy to establish a WADA-accredited laboratory in Pakistan.

“It is easier for us to get the samples tested abroad than to have our own laboratory as it would require at least six million dollars to establish,” said Dr Waqar, who heads the Anti Doping Agency of Pakistan.

“For WADA accreditation your lab will need to carry out 1500 tests annually which is not possible for us,” Waqar told this correspondent.

“There are 33 such labs in the world. India, Qatar, Kazakhstan and Thailand also have dope test facilities. India offers cheapest rates,” said Waqar, also the Deputy Director General of PSB’s Rehabilitation and Treatment wing.

He stressed that federations must conduct at least four tests ahead of national events. “If an athlete fails to clear the test he is banned for four years. The electronic and print media release the news. It is the most effective deterrent,” Waqar said.

“In order to spread awareness among athletes we hold seminars. During national events or training camps our experts deliver lectures on the subject,” Waqar said.