Circle of Dope: Indian Kabaddi Team Players being caught for doping
CIRCLE OF DOPE
I was doing some legwork on my next article regarding the status of the Kabaddi (Circle) World Cup starting in Punjab this weekend when news trickled in that more than a dozen players in the Indian team roster have failed their drug tests.
While the news was not entirely surprising, it was shocking to know that 13 of the 29 players tested positive.
That is a rate of almost 45%, something virtually unthinkable in modern sport.
Another 17 players were also tested yesterday and I shudder to think if any more would be caught.
The tournament Medical and Anti Doping Committee have moved in quickly and have suspended the said players until final adjudication is made.
No matter how that goes, the development is certainly not good for the sport.
To say that it is a major embarrassment to India and the sport is perhaps an understatement.
This does not augur well for all those involved in the sport.
Doping tests were also carried out in England on 128 players earlier this month and 16 players were tested positive.
Whether the remaining eight teams in the competition have conducted any tests on their players remains to be seen.
This is not the first time that the issue of doping has come up or players being caught for doping.
The truth of the matter is that doping is still rampant in kabaddi and if something concrete is not done, the game would suffer long term consequences.
I have to laud the Punjab State Government for their insistence on conducting the doping tests.
At least it would create some credibility for the tournament, which is perhaps the richest ever circle kabaddi event.
The tournament offers a record Rs One Crore for the winning teams with the runners-up and third places teams expected to take home Rs 51 Lakh and Rs 25 Lakh respectively.
Ten teams including India are expected to participate in the tournament.
I had actually wanted to question whether the the tournament deserved the status as the Kabaddi World Cup?
I do not want to take away anything from the efforts made by the Punjab State government to run this expensive eye opening tournament.
However, I do believe that there is a need to differentiate between an international invitational tournament and a bona fide World Cup.
A search on the internet would reveal that in the past, Kabaddi World Cups have been hosted in Chicago, Toronto, Melbourne and Hamilton.
A closer scrutiny would find that the Kabaddi World Cup to be held in Punjab is similar to these previous World Cups.
For me this is akin to the baseball playoff between the top teams from USA and Canada dubbed as the World Series.
Ensuring that the World Anti Doping Authority (WADA) standards on dope testing is a positive start but the tournament needs to create more credibility in terms of participation.
For starters the tournament is fully funded and organised by the Punjab State Government. The role of the national and international governing bodies for the sports is conspicuously missing.
In almost all other sports, teams have to qualify for their World Cup. However, here teams are invited and many countries outside the circle (forgive me for the pun) do not even know that there is a World Cup for circle kabaddi.
The tournament is an invitational tournament and the name World Cup is a misnomer.
Whatever name it goes by, it is still a positive start that is sorely needed for the sport.
If you are in Punjab do drop by and lend your support.
Schedule of Kabaddi World Cup 2010
3rd April 2010 Opening Ceremony at Patiala
4th April 2010 Match at Sangror
5th April 2010 Match at Jalandar
6th April 2010 Match at Hoshiarpur
7th April 2010 Match at Gurdaspur
8th April 2010 Match at Amritsar
10th April 2010 Match at Bhatinda
12th April 2010 Final and Closing at Luddhiana