NEW DELHI: Just two days after sports minister Kiren Rijiju stressed that India would appeal against World Anti-Doping Agency‘s (WADA) suspension of Delhi-based National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL) at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), sports secretary Radhey Shyam Julaniya told TOI on Monday that the government had decided not to appeal.
The secretary said the government was looking to open a “direct communication channel” with WADA as the laboratory had revamped itself as per WADA’s sample testing procedures. NDTL was suspended on August 20 for six months.
“We have found that direct communication with the WADA is a shorter route (to get the suspension lifted), so the government has decided not to file an appeal,” was Julaniya’s explanation on the U-turn. “We have given a proper reply to whatever issues WADA had pointed out. There’s been some communication with them which is very positive,” the secretary added.
When the NDTL was suspended, both the minister and the secretary specifically spoke about appealing against the decision within 21 days of the suspension date, while criticising WADA for ‘ignoring the changes brought about by the NDTL in its functioning.’ Julaniya said a ministry delegation will be meeting WADA representatives next month to apprise them of the progress made at NDTL. “There will be two conferences on doping in October, one in Paris and the other in Poland. We will be meeting the WADA people at both the conferences,” he said.
Sources said that appealing would have resulted in spending a substantial amount of money on hiring lawyers to contest the case in CAS. Besides, there was no guarantee that the hearing would have finished before February 20, 2020, the date when the suspension period would have got over.
NDTL’s suspension has badly affected the country’s anti-doping programme ahead of Tokyo Olympics qualifying events.
Recently, the senior national teams in weightlifting and boxing left for their respective World Championships without any lifter or boxer being tested by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA). Now, the two teams will be on the radar of the WADA’s dope control officers (DCOs).