New Delhi: The National Anti-Doping Agency has started an ambitious Athlete Biological Passport programme which will cover Olympic-bound sportspersons for now before extending to other elite, national and state level athletes, its Director General Navin Agarwal said on Tuesday.
ABP is the monitoring of selected biological parameters over time that may indirectly reveal effects of doping on the body.
This allows anti-doping agencies to generate individual profiles for each athlete through which fluctuations, that may indicate the use of performance-enhancing drugs or methods, would be apparent.
"We have begun an Athlete Biological Passport Programme by using which we can make a longitudinal study of several biological parameters of an athlete's body. By using ABP we can know doping by an athlete at any time so that we can hand punishments," Agarwal said.
"When an athlete dopes, the parameters change. Some parameters of the body are such that the blood and urine samples can detect the changes later on as the changes remain for a long time," he added.
The ABP programme was devised by anti-doping agencies as a new detection strategy to combat emerging threats arising out of the use of new or modified substances or designer drugs by athletes.
Agarwal said the ABP programme was introduced to ensure that no athlete is caught for doping during the Tokyo Olympics "We are preparing the ABP of all those Tokyo-bound athletes so that nobody is caught for doping there. Moreover, that (ABP) will give the facility to them so that there is no need to do another testing in Tokyo.
"The Olympics is coming up and we have to ensure that no Indian athlete is caught in the dope net during the Olympics and or whosoever uses prohibited drug before the Olympics is caught before that (Olympics)." Asked about the cost-effectiveness of the ABP programme as the NADA has been working on a shoe-string budget, he said, "It is cost-effective in the sense that later we will not need to do repeat testing.
"We will expand this programme to all the aspiring athletes. We are starting with the Tokyo-bound athletes and it will be done for national and state level athletes also later on." The number of doping offences in the country was the maximum this year as more than 150 athletes failed tests though bodybuilders made up more than one-third of this list.
Asked if the number of dope samples to be tested will be higher next year considering the Olympics, Agarwal said, "What is more important than the number of samples is to test at the correct time and place. We made a plan by including several testing techniques recommended by WADA and the number of detection (of dope positive cases) was the maximum this year.
"We have made a test plan of all the Olympic hopefuls or those shortlisted for Olympics, taking inputs from the SAI, IOA and also from the TOP Scheme. We will test them all in-competition and out-of-competition at the right time and right place before the Olympics." He also said all the Tokyo-bound athletes will be tested even if they train outside the country whenever necessary.