Sunday, March 31, 2013

India: Dope alert: Hold your horse, stables being cleaned - Full Article

By Pratul Sharma - NEW DELHI
Published: 31st Mar 2013 11:27:27 AM

The government has decided to clean the Augean stables. Well, quite literally. To bring more accountability into equestrian sports, it has decided to acquire dope testing facility in the country for horses. The Delhi-based National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL), a World Anti-Doping Agency-accredited lab to check human samples, would soon start testing urine and blood samples of horses participating in various competitions to check for the possible use of banned drugs.

The NDTL will soon join the league of select labs across the world which will test horse doping samples. The sports ministry sources said NDTL in its last board meeting in January had decided that the method that uses liquid chromatography–a mass spectrometry analysis method—would be obtained. A `2.5-crore machine will be acquired for this purpose. “We intend to start testing in the next few months,” officials told The Sunday Standard.

To make the facility pass the stringent rules, NDTL has acquired accreditation from the Association of Official Racing Chemists, a US-based body. The new testing facility in India will be able to provide services for various horse sporting events that otherwise have to send samples to Dubai, England or Hong Kong-based labs.

Equine sports are not a common man’s game. Patronised by Maharajas, business tycoons and the army, the sport—be it equestrian or racing—raises its celebrity quotient several notches higher than other sporting events.

But the sport has its share of taint too...

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