Wednesday July 06, 2022

15 athletes to undergo dope tests ahead of C’wealth Games

June 24, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Around 15 leading athletes, mostly representing the country in power, strength and agility sports events will undergo dope tests ahead of the Birmingham’s Commonwealth Games starting from July 28.

A well-placed source has told ‘The News’ that the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) has written a request letter to Dr Waqar Ahmed, head of Anti-Doping Organisation of Pakistan (ADOP), to make necessary arrangements for timely conduct of the tests on these athletes.

The PSB wanted that only ten athletes who even have any outside chances of a medal should undergo dope tests, however the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) sought to add five more to make it 15 in all.

“Now it has been decided that around 15 athletes will undergo tests ahead of the Games. Selected athletes belonging to weightlifting, wrestling, judo, athletics, squash and boxing are expected to be tested,” a source within the PSB said.

It has also been learnt that the Games organisers in Birmingham have spotted five Pakistan athletes having the medal prospects at the Games. These include Shah Hussain Shah (judo), Arshad Nadeem (athletics), Nooh Dastgir Butt (weightlifting), Inam Butt (wrestling) and a boxer.

It has yet to be known whether the PSB has released the funds required to conduct these tests. A heavy amount is required to send the samples to internationally recognised laboratories abroad. Unless and until the PSB releases the amount the process cannot go ahead.

Earlier, the POA had decided to conduct dope tests of all the athletes bound for Birmingham.

The repeated positive tests in weightlifting and kabaddi over the last few months has rocked the sports circles in Pakistan with the POA deciding to go even tougher to ensure that the country’s athletes should stay clean and fair in its approach. Since there are hardly any chances of a medal outside the top cadre of fifteen athletes, it has been decided to conduct tests on a limited number of athletes.

“The country is going through financial crisis and as such paying and sending extra dollars abroad would not be a wise option. This is also one of the reasons as why we have decided to conduct tests only on those who have an outside chance of winning the medals,” one of the officials said.

“Following the series of positive tests recently, it has now become all the more important to get even stricter. The POA has always been advocating the tougher stance and that has been our main stress during the meetings with federations’ officials. We have already constituted a probe committee to look into the kabaddi affairs. Though the kabaddi federation is not a signatory to WADA rules, yet no one would be allowed to breach the WADA rules. We believe in free and fair sports and that is what the IOC has always advocated. All those athletes who have breached WADA rules would be dealt with strict measures,” a POA official said.