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Indian athletes at Rio 2016 all drug-free, says national anti-doping chief

NADA director-general Navin Agarwal has said that every athlete tested so far is clean.

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All the athletes who will be representing India at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro this August have undergone sample testing by NADA, India’s National Anti-Doping Agency, its chief says, and they are all clean.

Navin Agarwal, the new director-general of NADA told PTI "All Rio-bound athletes have been tested. Some of the athletes have been tested at least once, some have been tested twice and some thrice. Some athletes could not be tested on the second occasion because they were training abroad and in their case they have been tested at least once.”

He admitted that a few athletes had not been available for testing at their allocated times, which can potentially be classed as a violation – but Agarwal clarified that this was not the case. "All Rio-bound athletes have been tested. Some of the athletes have been tested at least once, some have been tested twice and some thrice. Some athletes could not be tested on the second occasion because they were training abroad and in their case they have been tested at least once," he said.

Several other countries have been rocked by doping claims – and Russia and its athletes are at the centre of the maelstrom. There has been serious speculation that Russian athletes may see a blanket ban from the Olympics following an investigation that uncovered systematic state-sponsored doping in the country.

However, IOC chief Thomas Bach played down speculation that all athletes would be banned, saying those found infringing upon the rules would, however, see a ban from the Games.

Agarwal also spoke about potential violations in India.

"There have been a few cases, though I cannot disclose them. In such cases we issue notices and three such whereabouts failure is treated as a doping violation,” he said.

"There have been instances of one or two whereabouts failures regarding a few Rio-bound sportspersons but till now there is no instance of three whereabouts failures and so there is no doping violation so far.”

A WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) report found that India was the “third most doped country in the world” in sport, and Agarwal said that the agency, which is in its nascent stages, was looking to help the country move away from that tag.

The Indian relay team had been under the scanner for doping, but Agarwal’s latest statements should assuage the fears of those worried about Indian athletes and doping at the Olympic Games.

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