Action should be taken against PT Usha on doping cheats as soon as possible

Legendary athlete PT Usha on Wednesday batted for bringing all competitions under the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) and demanded more focus in the field of sports medicine and science to help athletes recover from injuries.

In her maiden speech in the Rajya Sabha, Usha, who participated in the debate on the National Anti-Doping Bill, said the country has the third highest number of people who have tested positive for steroids and been convicted for doping.

“We have not yet opened our eyes to doping in our country which was earlier limited to the senior national level but now it has reached the junior, college and district levels. It is a serious concern that needs to be addressed,” she noted.

Usha, who was nominated to the upper house last month, said the country needs more focus on sports medicine and sports science. Leading sporting nations had adequate support in the sports medicine system which India lacked, she said.

“New generation players are now getting better coaches, diet and relaxation facilities but there is one department that needs more attention and that is the field of sports medicine and sports science,” said Pilavullakandi Thekkeraparambil Usha. She noted that injuries are an integral part of sports and that the Department of Sports Science and Medicine plays an important role in helping recover from injuries.

“Unfortunately in our country, this branch is still in its infancy stage. We need to give immediate and special attention to this sector,” said Usha. “This is the time to become self-reliant and I strongly suggest that all this should come under the Atma Dependent India initiative, she added.

Speaking about doping, she said that the alarming situation can be controlled to some extent by the legal profession and more effective measures are needed to create awareness about the problem.

“Awareness needs to be created about abuse of performance enhancing drugs and there should be no delay in taking timely action and proper ban against those who test positive for steroids and performance enhancing substances,” said Usha.

At the same time, the activity of the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) should be accelerated and it should be given freedom to work without any hindrance, she said. Both NADA and the Delhi-based National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL) should get the financial independence they need, the MP said.

According to experts, NADA collects samples from athletes in most national championships as well as national camps that are held here. Sports authority of India (SAI) centers across the country. He is authorized to collect samples from all athletes who are part of his registered testing pool.

Taking samples and sending them to labs for testing requires resources, so testing in all competitions will require an increased budget, they said. In 2019-20, NADA tested around 4000 Indian athletes. About four percent have tested positive. Speaking in the Upper House, Usha said that if the country follows all scientific procedures, India will become one of the top sporting nations in the world in the next ten years.

Participating in the discussion, Ayodhya Rami Reddy Alla (YSRCP) noted that adequate testing infrastructure is needed in the country to check doping.
John Brittas of CPI(M) and Sanjay Singh (AAP) demanded enhanced budget allocation for sports. Supporting the bill, Amar Patnaik (BJD) said that countries like Italy are at the top of the doping list and India is moving towards it.

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“This (law) is a framework that has come in to make us more credible in the international sports arena,” he said. Dhananjaya Bhimrao Mahadik (BJP) said that drugs used for doping are now easily available across the country and are sold as organic drugs. “Many times, the athlete is not even aware of the negative effects of this drug,” he said.

Fauzia Khan (NCP), Abdul Wahab (IUML), GK Wasan TMC (M), K Ravindra Kumar (TDP), M Thambidurai (AIADMK), Anil Aggarwal (BJP), Binoy Vishwa (CPI), Ramji (BSP), S . Phangnon Konyak (BJP), Mausam Noor (AITC) and Birendra Prasad Baishya (AGP) also participated in the debate.

The bill, which was earlier approved by the Lok Sabha, was passed by voice vote in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

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