23 June 2020

Twenty two junior Indian rowers return AAF for probenecid

The Rowing Federation of India has blamed food supplements, after 22 junior rowers returned adverse analytical findings (AAFs) for probenecid as a result of tests at a Thailand training camp in December last year, reports the Times of India. Probenecid is a diuretic that can be used to mask use of other substances. 

In 2017 Gil Roberts, a US runner, was cleared of an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV) after his girlfriend was given a drug (moxylong) to combat a sinus infection whilst travelling in India. The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) accepted that his AAF for probenecid was caused by kissing his girlfriend. It is difficult to find any evidence indicating intentional use of probenecid to cheat in sport, or of food or supplement contamination.

The Indian national anti-doping agency (NADA India), which told the Times of India about the 22 AAFs, has recently published its 2019 Annual Report. It outlines 157 ADRVs, 3.7% of the 4,236 tests conducted during the year (2,126 in competition; 2,110 out of competition). The highest number of tests (1,203) was carried out in athletics, followed by boxing (404) and weightlifting (352). 

NADA India said that the number of investigations it had carried out during 2019 increased 9% over 2018. It added that its Disciplinary Panel had a 100% conviction rate for 2019, in some cases upholding NADA India’s appeals for bans to be extended from two to four years.

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