NEW DELHI : Taking a tough stand on dope control, Sports Minister Vijay Goel asserted on Thursday that the government is determined to take tough anti-doping measures in order to curb the use of banned substances. Stating that use of supplements laced with banned substances was a major reason behind positive dope tests by various Indian athletes, Goel asserted that the government is looking to restrict the import and use of such supplements.
"The government is committed to take tough anti-doping measures to provide a healthy eco-system for development of sports in the country. Time has now come to provide safe and quality nutrition to the athletes in the wake of increasing international competition and high incidences of dope," Goel said in a statement.
"Import and sale of sub-standard and dope-laced nutritional supplement is a cause to worry as an unsuspected athlete gets banned under the Anti-Doping Code because of use of these supplements.
"To protect the clean athlete and meet his requirement for quality supplements, the convergence of various regulatory authorities to work out a dope free model for nutritional products is a good initiative and a welcome step," the statement added.
According to Goel, a collaboration of the National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) with the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and other agencies will have a far reaching impact in improving physical fitness standards in the country and help athletes in making informed choices.
Goel also denied conflict of interest in the appointment of former star athletes as national observers of various sports.
A total of 14 former sportpersons including P.T. Usha, Anju Bobby George (athletics), Sanjeev Kumar Singh (archery), Aparna Popat (badminton), Mary Kom, Akhil Kumar (boxing), Jagbir Singh (hockey), Abhinav Bindra (shooting), Somdev Devvarman (tennis), Karnam Malleshwari (weightlifting), Sushil Kumar (wrestling), I. M. Vijayan (football), Khajan Singh Tokas (swimming), Kamlesh Mehta (table tennis) were appointed as national observers of a dozen sports in late March.
These former sportspersons were supposed to assist the government, Sports Authority of India (SAI), and National Sports Federations (NSFs) in the preparation and implementation of the long term development plan in their respective sports covering all aspects including selection policy, long term athlete development plan, coaching development, development of technical officials and monitoring and evaluation of athlete performance.
"Reports have appeared in a section of media about the appointment of national observers and their role particularly in the wake of conflict of interest in some areas of sports," the minister said.
"The players of international eminence were appointed by the ministry as national observers for the first time for the development of sports and these national observers are performing their duties as per the guidelines and role assigned to them by the ministry," the statement added.